Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Aled Brew on the talent of Joe Cokanasiga, the wisdom of Jamie Roberts, and targeting silverware at Bath Rugby

Aled Brew was Bath’s Players’ Player of the Year last season and chalked up more minutes on the field than any other player, but the modest winger expects to fulfil little more than a cameo this term.

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The Welshman, 32, believes newly-arrived youngster Joe Cokanasiga and fit-again Semesa Rokoduguni will be the first-choice wingers at The Rec.

And while he will still be out to pinch the shirt off their backs, he says he is being “real with himself” and not expecting to have the amount of game time he had last campaign.

England Under-20 star Cokanasiga has joined Bath from London Irish on a three-year deal, while England wing Rokoduguni is back from shoulder surgery.

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“When you’ve got young boys like Joe coming through, you’ve got to expect that he’s going to have a good crack,” said Brew.
“He’s the future and I’m coming to the latter end of my career now. You’ve got to understand that.
“I’ll be here pushing Joe and pushing Roko but you’ve got to have the understanding and be real with yourself that they’re going to be playing the majority if they’re playing well.
“With Roko back, Joe here, Jack Wilson and Cooper Vuna, we’ve a lot of wingers. We’re training hard and pushing each other on the field. It’s good to have that rivalry but we know that the team comes first.

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“If they don’t then I’ll have to take my chance and try and hold on to my spot.

“I’m happy in my position. I don’t expect to be playing week in week out like I did last year, but I just want the team to do well and get some silverware.

“Last season went really well for me, and I didn’t expect to play as much rugby as I did. It was a long season for me and I coped with it pretty well. But you’ve got to be realistic at 32.”

Brew, who has nine international caps, said the impact of fellow Wales international Jamie Roberts on the squad had been immediate and forceful.

“I’ve known Jamie for years and he’s not shy, he’s a confident bloke,” Brew said. “He’s definitely brought a lot of experience and a no-nonsense character as well.

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“Out on the field if something’s not good enough he’s expressing it and telling the boys.

“He’s training hard and he’s definitely a good role model for people to see. Everyone knows how successful he’s been and is. Even though he’s hit those heights he’s still cracking on to perfect himself.

“He’s the first to rehab and after training he’s doing extras.

“When the Academy boys see him do all those things, they think ‘These are the standards it’s going to take’."

The original version of this article first appeared in The Rugby Paper.