With the club putting on a quiz night at Hazelwood this week it seemed an ideal chance to grab another player interview. We sent Matt Merritt along and he caught up with Barney Maddison before the competition started.
Hey Barney, let’s start with the game at the weekend where you scored a try. Was that your first in an Irish shirt?
Well technically I’ve been given two, I had one disallowed against Leeds but then Fizz (Paulo) scored but it was put down in my name so I’ll take it. But yeah, first official try for Irish!
A good win as well.
Yeah, a real good win! There were a lot of changes made for the game, a lot of boys who hadn’t played much rugby so to get out there and play was fantastic! The scoreline probably didn’t reflect the performance, we’d like to keep the opposition from scoring so many points but overall very happy.
We now know the next round will see us face off against Yorkshire Carnegie at the end of the month, so that should be a good game?
You can obviously see by their run of form that Carnegie have got a lot better. They recruited quite a few players over the Christmas period and used the Championship Cup as a bit of a springboard so it will be a tough game.
There will be a few familiar faces up there as well.
Talking of familiar faces… I didn’t realise until we faced them a couple of weeks ago that your brother was playing for the Reds! Am I right in thinking you played together at Rotherham a few years back?
I was at Rotherham for five years, Charlie was there for a season and a half of that, at the back end of my stint there. He stayed for another couple of year after that and then moved over to Jersey this season.
Meanwhile you joined London Welsh…
Yeah, I was at London Welsh for about six months, with Josh (McNally) and Lovejoy and then it all went a bit pear shaped. I was quite lucky that Ealing came in straight away, within a week of Welsh going bust so I was able to jump straight across there for the remaining 18 months of the contract.
Ealing are a team with real ambition and they’ve been pushing on the past couple of years. It must have been nice to join a team headed that way after what happened with London Welsh.
It was good, I enjoyed my time there with a top bunch of boys. They lost a lot of players last year, a lot of the guys I was close with anyway. But I hear there’s still a lot of good stuff going on down at Ealing.
You mentioned earlier that some of the players in last weeks game had been a few weeks without playing. How do you cope with that rotation?
It’s probably more to do with the way the league has been structured this year. Normally you get a block of Champ games then a week or two of B&I cup but with the schedule this year – 8 games of Champ and then straight into a six week block of cup games – it has been very hard to rotate, you have to use your squad in a different way.
Now it’s knockout rugby it’s a bit different, but it’s good it gives you a chance to play. We do have a big squad, but that means plenty of competition which is what you need to have a competitive year.
I guess you know at some point that chance will come so you just have to grab it when it does!
You’re a lock, which is probably one of our stronger positions. It seems like the role has changed in recent years. We see Josh crop up at six and that seems to be the direction we’re going, where your locks need to be able to play like blindsides. Is that something you’ve noticed over your career?
Definitely! When I came down to London to play for Welsh I actually played flanker, Josh would be in the row and I’d play at 6. Times have changed slightly and we’ve gotten a little older but it’s more of a back five now. Everyone has to be a jumping option – when Josh plays at 6 he gives us a good lineout option. It gives us a bit more variety in the pack. It is what it is, you just have to be more versatile.
One of the things we talk about a lot in these interviews and that fans always respond to are players lives outside rugby and plans for the future. Some guys have clear visions of what they want to do – Pat wants to get everyone drinking! – is that something you’ve put a lot of thought into?
Drinking? I put some thought into it most weekends!
Yeah… I went to university – I went a slightly different route, I didn’t go into an academy, I ended up getting picked up through rugby at university – I’ve got my degree in sports coaching and when I was living in Sheffield Head coach of the team at Sheffield Hallam university so I do a lot of coaching. I still coach now at a local team, Ruislip, where a good mate of mine plays. That’s the route I’d like to go down. I’m hopefully going to do my Level 3 (coaching certificate) in the next year.
So you definitely want to stay around the game?
Oh yeah, I’ve been around rugby since I was 5 or 6, when my dad used to play so I’d like to keep going.
We’re here tonight for the quiz… Other than rugby what’s the subject you’re hoping will come up?
It’s a tough one. My general knowledge is alright but anything to do with science or anything like that isn’t my strong point. I’ll give it a good go, but if it isn’t sport or general knowledge then I’m not the best person to be on the team.
If you had to pick one of your teammates to join your team who would it be? Also, which player in the squad would you want to make sure ended up on another team?
One person I’d want… Matty Rogerson. Clever lad! I think his general knowledge would be pretty good. One person I wouldn’t want… Lovejoy Chawatama!
So last question, Bedford away this weekend, always a tricky fixture. What are you expecting from the Blues?
It’ll be a tough game. We’ve played them two or three times already and won those games so they’re going to be gunning for us. Goldington Road is a difficult place to go, especially with the pitch there but we want to put in a performance. We played quite well last week but we need to up it for the league. We’ve had a tough week of training so we’re ready for the game!
Thanks to Barney and to the club for their continued support in arranging these interviews and Matt at @RugbyLI for conducting them!