RUGBY UNION - Bees head coach Panter full of praise for young squad - The Solihull Observer

RUGBY UNION - Bees head coach Panter full of praise for young squad

Solihull Editorial 29th Dec, 2022   0

BIRMINGHAM and Solihull Bees head coach James Panter was full of praise for his young squad with the Bees top of the Counties 3 Midlands West (South) table heading into the New Year.

Panter took over as head coach from Clive Chapman in the summer after the latter guided the Bees to an extraordinary league and cup double last term.

However, Panter has picked up where his predecessor left off with the Bees 12 points clear of closest challengers Rugby Welsh, albeit having played two games more.

The Bees have lost just one league game all season scoring more than 300 points in the process whilst also boasting the meanest defence in the division.

Panter said: “If someone had said to me coming into Christmas that you’ll be sitting at the top of the table, having lost just one game, I’d have snapped anyone’s hand off.

“We’re not really thinking about finishing top, that was never our objective coming into the season, it was just around the performance.

“We’ve got a really good group of players, it is just a case of getting the most out of them every single week and putting those performances in.

“If we continue to put the performances in that we’re capable of then we will finish in and around the top four.

“It could have gone better if you look at the league standings and some of the performances of late, we saw this year as a building year in terms of myself and the coaches helping me out, we’ve made a lot of changes.

“We were never expecting those changes to bed in on day one but the lads have taken everything in their stride.”

Solihull won their first five games of the campaign before slipping to their sole defeat away at Coventrians where they were beaten 18-12 in a close affair.

And Panter admitted that his young side are still learning how to control and manage close games to ensure they can close out tight fixtures later in the season.

Panter added: “We are a young team and we realise that, we are not going to try and outmuscle people because most of our team are 19 and 20-years-old.

“We’ve got to play a bit smarter and we’ve got to play a quicker style of rugby and when we’ve done that some of the phases we’ve put together have been brilliant so far this season.

“The flip side to having such a young side is our ability to manage a game, if it is a tighter game it’s looking at our game management and how we can input our markers on the game and doing that as quickly as possible and that does come with experience.

“I wouldn’t say we were the best team in the league, there are a lot of good teams in the league, we’re at our best when we’re playing our brand and our style of rugby.”

Panter is proud to coach a side made up predominantly of Bees youth graduates and praised the group’s hunger and desire to learn and improve despite having won 12 of their 13 league fixtures prior to the Christmas break.

He said: “Every group I’ve been fortunate enough to coach has been a good group and we’ve had our successes, what makes this group different is that the majority of the lads have come through the junior section.

“They’ve got a genuine love and affection for the club and want to see the club do well, you can see that if we win a game and we’ve played badly, the lads will take it as a loss.

“I think because of their age and the fact that it is a younger squad, the ability to want to learn and the desire to want to get better as well is something that really makes them stand out.”

Birmingham and Solihull return to action in the New Year against Chaddesley Corbett on Saturday, January 7 at Chaddesley Corbett Sports Club.


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