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Captain’s Log: Dan Smith, Stroud Rugby Club

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Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 09:00

Dan Smith Dan Smith

Dan Smith is in the front line, quite literally, as Stroud chase promotion from Western Counties North this season.

The loosehead prop is captain of the team having taken over midway through last season when Harry Foote sustained a bad knee injury.

And although Smith is 33 and has played for Old Richians, Lydney, Gloucester Under-21s and Bath United, this is the first time he has ever led a side.

“I stood in as captain last season and I took over officially at the start of this season,” Smith said.

Harry Foote, the son of Stroud director of rugby Rupert Foote, faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines – “Hopefully he’ll be back soon,” said Smith – but Smith’s promotion would certainly appear to have been a smooth one.

The club finished fourth in Western Counties North last season and have made a flying start to the 2019/20 campaign, so much so that optimism is high among their supporters that they can go on and win the title this season.

So how has Smith found the captaincy?

“If someone had told me when I took over that being captain was a difficult job I’d have said they were lying, but if they said that to me now I know they’d be telling the truth,” he laughed.

It helps that Smith is a Stroud boy – he’s a former Archway School pupil – and he played for the club as a youngster in the minis and juniors section.

The dad-of-two is in his fourth season back with the club – he had a couple of years off rugby when his children were first born – and he said: “Dan Gordon got me back to the club, not too much has changed over the years.

“We’ve managed to keep the same sort of side together for a while now. We’ve brought in a couple of extra players and we’ve also got a couple of new coaches – Richard Rudge and Stuart Cale. They’ve really got the lads ticking.”

So what’s the aim this season?

“We’d be lying if we said we didn’t want to be promoted,” admitted Smith. “We’ve been in this division for a few years and we’ve been knocking on the door so promotion has to be the main aim.”

Smith would also love a good run in the RFU Intermediate Cup – league rivals Matson reached the final at Twickenham last season – and his role both as a player and a captain will be vital as the club challenge for silverware.

“I try to lead by example,” he said. “I like to chat to the lads but I think if you lead from the front the other players will follow you.

“I like to run with the ball if I can, I’m not scared of getting the ball in hand but obviously in my position the set-piece is key.

“The set-piece has to be right, you can’t get knocked back at scrums or lose your own lineout ball.”

And with Smith in the front row, there’s much less chance that that will happen!

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