Marcel Garvey is relieved that his frustrating season has kicked into life in time to play a big part in Worcester Warriors’ crucial Guinness Premiership run-in.
The 23-year-old winger’s spectacular running against ASM Clermont, last Saturday, rekindled memories of the high hopes he brought to Sixways from Gloucester in the summer, before fate left him struggling for fitness and form.
Now, after working hard to claim a place in director of rugby John Brain’s starting line-up, he’s determined to use this weekend’s ERC Challenge Cup stage in Viadana to produce more of the same for the club.
“It’s good to be playing again,” he said before the Warriors squad flew out to northern Italy for tomorrow’s final Pool 5 match at Stadio Luigi Zaffanella. “It’s a long season and you’ve just got to bide your time. I was unfortunate to have an illness and then an injury. The people who were playing in my position were playing well. I just had to do what I had to do to get in the team.”
That’s meant hard hours on the training pitch with John Brain, backs coach Billy McGinty and defensive guru Phil Larder, working on strengths and weaknesses to improve his game, ready to capitalise when his name reappeared on the team-sheet.
“You pick up form with the boys that are playing and learn how to play with them,” he explained of his return to the starting XV. “As every rugby player, I’ve been working on all the core skills, running lines and my defence. I have to get my hands on the ball more often, work off 10 more.”
He’d also like to see opponents providing the kind of possession that triggered the sparkling, mazy run that raised the Sixways roof and led to Worcester’s first try against Clermont – a score that was equal to anything the classy French side pulled out of the top hat.
“They were the best team I’ve seen this year,” he admits, “but the game was closer than it looks. It’s frustrating that teams haven’t kicked to me as much as they’re kicking down the middle. That’s what I thrive on. Hopefully I’ll get more like it.”
As for the delayed launch to his season, after languishing in the background at Kingsholm – where his early career bore the daunting pressure of being the next big thing in English rugby – he doesn’t believe he has anything to prove.
“From where I was before, the mentality of the players is a lot different. The guys here are very positive. They come into training with a smile on their faces.
“I’m not trying to prove a point, I’m trying to play rugby for Worcester – that’s what I want to do. I have another year on my contract. I like this club. It’s the best environment I’ve been in. I was a bit wary when I came here, but it’s made me see a happy side of rugby.”