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Captain’s Log: Oli Newman, Cirencester Rugby Club

All Areas > Sport > Rugby Union

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Wednesday, 19th December 2018, 09:00

Oli Newman, left, with brothers Luke, centre, and Noah Oli Newman, left, with brothers Luke, centre, and Noah

It won’t have come as much of a surprise to those who know him that Oli Newman is captain of Cirencester Rugby Club this season.

The soon-to-be 25-year-old has been captain of a good number of teams over the years and was the club’s vice-captain in 2017/18.

“I was captain of Cirencester’s age group teams from under-9s through to under-15s and I also captained Poulton Cricket Club a couple of years ago,” he said.

That gave him a very good grounding to take on the leadership role at Cirencester and when you also consider that he has been part of the club for some two decades it makes him an obvious choice to lead the Gloucestershire One club.

“I’ve been with the club nearly all my life,” said the former Kingshill School pupil. “I joined the minis and juniors when I was five or six and have played pretty much all the way through. I’ve learned most of my rugby at the club. I did play at school but most of my development has come at Cirencester.”

He had a break from the club when he was at Hartpury College and then when he took a year out to go travelling to Australia, New Zealand and Asia, but since returning to the club in 2014 he has been pretty much full-on with his rugby.

And he’s back in his preferred position of fly-half this season after having a spell in the centre last time out.

The previous two seasons were tough for Cirencester – they were relegated from Western Counties North and then Gloucestershire Premier – and promotion is very much the target this season.

“We had a really successful season three years ago when we went up to Western Counties North,” Newman said. “Then we lost a few players – retirements, players going to university or starting families – and we had a couple of poor seasons.

“But in the second half of last season we started to rebuild and that continued through the summer. Some of the younger players are a bit more experienced and some of the older players have come back to the club.

“It’s an enjoyable environment and the second team are doing really well as well.”

It’s always good when the captain of the flagship team highlights the performances of the club’s other sides and Newman is not the only member of his family who puts his heart and soul into the club.

Two of his younger brothers – second row Luke and hooker Noah – both play or have played for the club and all three played together in the 1st XV last season which Oli said “was pretty good”.

There’s another Newman sibling as well – youngest brother James – although he isn’t old enough to play adult rugby yet. He’s also a very good cricketer so he may not go on to play as much rugby as his big brothers.

Oli’s number one sport is rugby of course and ask him if he’s enjoying captaining his hometown club and he’ll tell you that he’s “loving it”.

So what sort of captain is he?

“I’m fairly vocal on game-day itself,” he said, “but my vice-captain Alex Hammond who plays no. 8 is just as likely to give the big speeches. I’ll talk when I need to but I like to lead by example.

“Playing at fly-half means I’m involved in a lot of the set-plays so it works quite nicely.”

And how far does he think Cirencester can go?

“We all kind of feel we should be near the top of Gloucestershire Premier and back in the Western Counties North in years to come,” he said. “Maybe not straight away. If we can get promotion this season and then maybe have a stable year, but it’s going to take a lot of hard work.”

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