With over 150 caps for Leicester Tigers, three Premiership titles and two caps for his country it could be said that Sam Vesty has accomplished all he possibly could in the game.
However, after hanging up his boots at Bath rugby club at the end of last season, the Leicester born utility back has embarked on a coaching career.
Vesty is currently at Worcester Warriors, working as the club’s Academy Transition Manager.
At yesterday’s LV= Cup launch in Exeter, Sam spoke to Talking Rugby Union and explained a bit more about his role:
“I work with the top end of the academy and try to get those players as ready for professional rugby as I can.
“I want to try and get as many of those into the first team squad as I can.
“Also, I work with the first team; helping Shane with the backs and some skill bits as well.”
For Sam at Worcester, and the development of any young players aspiring to play in the Premiership, the LV= Cup is an enormous part of the transition between the two.
“Absolutely”, Sam insisted. “The LV is definitely a chance to get some younger players first team game time and see how they react in that environment, playing with professional players.
“That’s where I want to see lots of my young lads, and I want to see them playing at that level.
“The Competition is a great stepping stone towards that, with lots of big games for the club.”
However, this season, the cup could be more important than ever for Worcester, after having such a disastrous start to the Premiership season.
The club have been nailed to the bottom of the Premiership since day one of the competition; still without a win from seven attempts.
Sam agreed that the cup is “very important for the club; because whatever happens to the first team we still need to bring young talent into the club and help with their eventual transition to the first team squad.
“Any club that is built on quality players coming through the ranks from a young age is going to be built on a real sound, strong foundation.
“With high-profile clubs you can’t just feed the top end and constantly just try and bring in world-class players: you need to bring in young blood; young quality players who know how to win for your club – that’s the most important thing.”
Worcester’s first game in the competition is in just two days’ time, on Friday, when the team travel across the border to face the Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park.
The Blues sit eighth in the Pro12 Competition, not enjoying one of their better seasons; however, after Worcester’s shocking Premiership form, the Welsh will already be able to smell blood.
One of the most important factors of the game, though, is the pitch. The fixture will take place on a recently developed rubber-crumb, and Vesty is hoping that will bring “a fast-paced, quick game of rugby.
“Hopefully if the weather stays nice it will be a good, quick game of rugby, that is great to watch, and will showcase lots of youth talent from both nations.”
Sam added that as a coach he will be looking out for the basics to be done well, through some “real quality defence, attack and hopefully tries; where young and also more experienced players show what they have got.”
Moving away from the cup itself and addressing the wider problem of what is actually going wrong for Worcester this season in England’s top flight, Sam lamented that “I think we need to improve on the ‘crunch time’ of each game we play.
“When it comes down to that point in a game, we haven’t been able to close it out – we just need to make sure we’re doing those small, basic things just a little bit better.
“We’re not playing badly all of the time; we’re just not, perhaps, finishing chances off or sticking to systems when it comes down to the final few minutes of a game.
“But, hopefully, just one win could change it all and turn around our season. Everyone is staying positive at the club.”
Sam, himself, has been in the role since the summer, having only just made his own transition from Premiership player to coach, and he told Talking Rugby Union that he is “really enjoying it.
“It was great to have a few months off over the summer completely off; not worrying about going to the gym or how much I have lifted, making sure my body weight is right or how many goals I have kicked.
“Instead I’m worrying about the young lads here and trying to help get the best out of them. I’ve jumped into my role as a coach with two feet and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
“That’s the main reason of why I began coaching and it’s really rewarding to do.”
Finally, Sam added, that his own ambitions are “to progress forward in his coaching as much as he possibly can.
“But at the moment, for me, it’s all about doing as good a job as I can in my current role.
“Hopefully when I get the chance to move up the ladder I can do that, but obviously that will only come from doing what I’m doing now to the best of my abilities; so Worcester is my focus.”
The Warriors travel to Cardiff for a 7.30 kick-off in the first round of the LV= Cup.
Be part of the rugby family at the LV=Cup Final at Sandy Park, Exeter on March 16th. Tickets now available www.ticketmaster.co.uk