Cobham Rugby

Meet the Skipper!

Cobham mini and youth graduate Adrian Van Der Ploeg was named senior squad captain for 2017/18. We sat down for a chat with him about all things Cobham Rugby, his playing career and aspirations for the team...

IMG_8107.jpgCobham youth graduate Adrian Van Der Ploeg was named first team captain for the 20117/18 season taking over from club stalwart scrum half Robbie Kennard. Cobham Rugby sat down with AVP as he is known to find out a bit more about him...

Firstly congratulations on being appointed first team captain for 2017/18 Adrian. What were your first thoughts and feelings when Director of Rugby Steve Pope asked you to take the role on?
To be honest, I was pretty surprised! However, I felt immense pride when Popey asked me to do the job. I really enjoy having responsibility, so this year will be a real test of that.

Does it help to have ex captains like Robbie Kennard, from whom you've taken over from, still in the squad?
Absolutely. Rob has been performing, and leading the Cobham senior ranks superbly for many years. He leaves everything on the pitch, and it’s great to have a back to eek out some of my ‘forward’ tendencies. We are lucky to have so many leaders in the side, who have always been really supportive with past captains. As a result, I am looking forward to getting the best out of this squad with them!

What's your earliest memories of playing for Cobham?
Cobham RFC have played a huge part in my development both as a player, and as a person. I began playing for Cobham when I was in year 7, at about 12 years old. Before that, I never really touched a rugby ball despite being from South Africa. 

What's been the highlight of your playing career so far?

I have a few great memories with Cobham, but winning the Surrey U21 cup two years on the bounce was pretty special. I’m gutted I can’t be part of what is a great squad of young, talented players! 

Do you have any pre game rituals or things you always do before games?
I wish I could give you something crazy, but I keep it simple. I like being prepared, whether it be getting tape or kit sorted out as soon as I get into the changing room.

What are you up to this year away from rugby?
I am fortunate enough to have a great placement at Locker 27 in Addlestone, as a Strength & Conditioning (S&C) intern. I am also working at St. John’s twice a week doing S&C for all sports teams and age groups, which has been great being an ex-pupil.

This season saw your brother Wesley join you in the senior ranks. What's it been like training and playing alongside him?
It took a bit of convincing, but he finally gave into my nagging and seems to really be enjoying it. He’s already scored more 1st XV tries than me this season, which isn’t much of a shock! 
Playing with a sibling is special in its own right, and nothing really compares to how it feels running out next to a family member. Cobham has a rich history of siblings playing in the same squads- The Goddard’s, Radford’s, Porter’s, & the Oldershaw’s are a few examples!

What are you looking forward to most about this season with Cobham?
On a personal level, just having consistency with fitness, and trying to perform at my best week in, week out.
As a collective, our squad has a great balance of experience and youth. The senior squad is littered with talent, and as the season progresses, and people get chances, everyone will see that. Also, as I mentioned, having so many leaders has been hugely positive for everyone in the squad.

You play mostly in the second row, who did you look up to most when you were younger, and is there anyone now that you model your game on?
I’ve been trying to get out of the row since Upper-Sixth, but nobody has answered my call… it must be my significant lack of pace. 
On a serious note, second rows are a breed of their own. We enjoy being in dark places, and staying away from all of the pretty suff. However, as the game has progressed, we’ve seen how skilled everyone needs to be in open play too, so players like Brodie Retallick & Pieter-Steph Du-Toit are players I try to observe and learn from!

What do you think are the most important qualities in a captain?
Being totally honest, fair, and personable. I feel these three things are the cornerstone to leadership!
I have been lucky enough to be influenced by great leaders throughout my life. My parents, coaches and teachers are all part of that group, so I can’t thank them enough.

The senior squad is now packed full of guys who have come through the minis and youth sections. Who did you play with when you were young that are with you now?
There are too many to name them all, but those that have played consistently come to mind. George Tunnacliffe & John Radford have played since they were kids, well before I joined! They still work hard every week and put their best efforts on the pitch for Cobham.

Do you have any ambitions/goals for the season?
Although we haven’t started as well as we wanted, there is so much talent in the squad. With consistency, and continued availability, this squad can put results on any team in the league this year. Moreover, with the introduction of a few new faces this year, competition for places has caused a few headaches already.
On the whole, we are all working relentlessly to achieve as much as we can this year- coaches, players, and club staff alike.
Thanks AVP
Why not come down and soak up the match day atmosphere and cheer on AVP and the boys?