IAN Davies said the young players coming into the Cornish Pirates squad this season will have to learn fast to compete in the “unforgiving” Greene King Championship.
Going into the 2014/15 season, the Mennaye Field outfield launched their Player Development Foundation during the summer as they look to develop young talented rugby players.
Among those recruited include former Helston Community College student Brad Howe, Ben Trevaskis from Penryn, Alex Ducker from Camborne and Truro School alumni Locryn Williams.
Davies, the club’s director of rugby, said the young guys are starting to settle into the surroundings but still have big challenges ahead of them.
“It is a big step for some of them,” Davies said.
“Some have been a bit like frightened rabbits, but some like Tyler Gendall who was at St Ives last year have come in and done well because they are used to getting hit hard.
“Then you have some like George Collenette who has come in from a nice and cosy public school in the form of Llandovery College where things have been easy, but he gets thrown into a mauling session and gets stood on repeatedly because he is constantly getting stood on as he’s in the wrong position.
“If the young players are good enough then they will feature in the squad, but they will have to learn very quickly. The Championship can be a very unforgiving league and if they don’t get up to scratch, then there could be some blood shed on the pitch.”
With competition for places set to be hot over the season, Davies said there might be a chance for some of the young players not featuring in the matchday squad to play at other clubs in Cornwall.
But he said this would have to be done on a condition which suits both them and the club players head towards.
Davies said: “We are looking at potentially sending some of the guys to teams like Redruth and Camborne to get minutes under their belts as it is important that they keep playing rugby to help their development.
“We are not in a position here to have an academy system, which is why we set up the foundation scheme, so getting them to play rugby will be good for them.
“We are a bit limited though on where they can go as Redruth and Camborne can only have three loan players and you have people like Steve Larkins who has taken over at Redruth who wants to create a new environment there, so the balance has to be right.
“While they are here though, we want them to learn in the environment they are in and that is the coaching ethos we are taking forwards, to create a learning environment.”