VARSITY 2015: Interview with Michael McConnell, SUFC Mens 1st XI Captain.

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In the build up to Varsity 2015, Sport Editor Jack Pethick interviews the SUFC Mens 1st XI captain, Michael McConnell, to get his views on Varsity and the season thus far.

Jack:

Would it be fair to say that the season hasn’t gone as well as you perhaps hoped this year?

Michael:

I would certainly agree that the season got off to a rocky start. Before the Christmas break we had only won 1 game, and with only 3 points from a possible 12, we were at the bottom of the table with relegation being a real possibility. However, thankfully we’ve turned it around in the second half of the season. Having won 3 out of 4 games since Christmas, we are now second in the league, and were nearly in with a very good chance of winning it until Marjon’s beat Bournemouth last Wednesday. Overall this is the best finish I have seen from a SUFC 1’s team in the whole time I have been at University, so I would say that we have achieved just about what we set out to do at the beginning of the season, and everyone involved should be relatively pleased with their efforts.

Jack:

What was last year’s varsity like to compete in? Do you think something similar will happen this year?

Michael:

It was honestly one of the best experiences of my time at University. We showed real grit and determination to get the win against Portsmouth. After the horrific accident of one of our players breaking his leg in the first half, we all grouped together, worked our socks off, and got a deserved win in the end. I really hope we get a similar result this year of course. Portsmouth are always a strong outfit, but with our improvements over the second half of the season, I don’t see why we can’t go out there on the 15th March and once again show we are the best side the South East of the country has to offer!

Jack:

Do you prepare any differently as a club for a Varsity game?

Michael:

No. I wouldn’t say we prepare any differently for the game compared to any other. Our usual pre-match prep consists of meeting up and getting in the dressing room, where the manager and I have prepared the kit. Then we get the music blaring in the changing room, making sure the mood in their remains nice and relaxed. Then once everyone is ready we get out on the pitch, about 25 mins before kick-off and start to warm-up. Nothing out of the ordinary really.

Jack:

How confident are you of victory this year, it seems that the season has been going quite well for them over there?

Michael:

Like I said before, Portsmouth consistently produced good sides. They have done for the past 3 years I have been part of Varsity, and I see it being an extremely tough game. But we are equally as confident as them going into the game. We are playing well; we are defensively strong, and more importantly we are getting results. So I think that all comes together to present what should be a very interesting game. Let’s just hope the Southampton crowd can get behind us and act as that 12th man we need to get us over the line!

Jack:

Are there any key players we should look out for on the day in your side?

Michael:

Well hopefully we will have 11 stars out there on the day! But if I was to pick out a few players to ‘player cam’ it would have to be our goalkeeper, Ben Paterson, who hopefully won’t have too much work to do on the day. He has saved us on many occasions this season between the sticks.

Going forward I would keep a keen eye on Arran Nurse (our striker) and Jerome Ntumba (our right winger), who have frightened the life out of back 4’s this season and hopefully will be doing the same to Pompey come Varsity!

Jack:

Sum up what Varsity means to you in 3 words.

Michael:

Winning is everything! 

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  2. VARSITY 2015: Interview with Michael McConnell, SUFC Mens 1st XI Captain.
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  8. VARSITY 2015: RUGBY 1ST TEAM
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Jack Pethick. Sport Editor 2014-2016. Third-Year History student. Mainly write for the Sport section but dabble in writing News and Features. General Armchair pundit and lover of all things Sport. #WouldDoABetterJobThanCarragher

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