We have spoken to September's 15 Under 23 MVP of the Month, Richard Capstick of Exeter Chiefs, to find out how he feels after winning the accolade and talk about his start of the season.
Congratulations Richard, how does it feel to have won an award that the fans have voted for?
I'm obviously very happy with winning the MVP for September and it's always nice to be recognised and get these achievements. We’ve got a lot of great young lads, I mean I'm sure a lot of boys at our club could have been up for the award so it’s great to have won it.
How nice is it that there is an award targeting the younger players aged 23 and under?
It’s great to have a way to identify lads that age that are playing well. So, for example, at Exeter we’ve got Patrick Schickerling, Christ Tshiunza, Dafydd Jenkins, Rus Tuima, Sam Maunder – we’re all a kind of similar age so it’s a good place to be.
What a start of the season it’s been for you, how have you found the opening few games?
It’s been really good. We had a tough pre-season at the club, the first in a long time where we’ve had a block to go after to improve our bodies physically and grow together as a team. We’ve tweaked our attack and defence as well. It’s been really good for us. It’s not just me, but for a lot of the young lads, we’ve had a real chance to develop ourselves.
There are a lot of youngsters coming through the academy this season, breaking into that first team, what is that like?
It’s a good place to be and a good sign for the future of the club. You've had that golden generation of players like Jack Nowell, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Henry, Slade, Dave Ewers, Sam Hill and Jonny Hill come through. It's nice to see that hopefully we could be that by the time the next group comes through to push the club on even more.
There’s good competition within the club, all over the pitch and coaches have a real tough selection problem. We’ve got an incredible group of young players like myself coming through: Dafydd, Christ, Sam, Lewis Pearson, Cory Teague – the back-row depth is mental. You’ve also got Patrick Schickerling, who’s in and around England now, and Marcus Street in the front row – the club has so much depth and youngsters coming through it’s a good place to be.
There is big competition in the backrow for the Chiefs; yourself, Sam Simmonds, Jacques Vermeulen…. what’s it like learning off some of the more senior players at Exeter?
It’s a great place to be as a young back rower, the competition is unbelievable. If you look at all their individual games, you can take bits of it – so how explosive and dynamic Sam Simmonds is, the physicality of Dave Ewers, and the edge of Jacques Vermeulen – and then add your own little bit and point of difference, you’ll create a hell of a player! So that’s what I’m aiming to do here.
What is it like running out for the club you’ve come through the academy with?
It’s unbelievable honestly. I used to go to the junior camps as a kid, I went to camps before game days and then went to the summer camps. I then joined the academy, so I’ve come through the whole way, so it’s been great. The club means quite a lot to me and it’s a great place to be. It’s amazing to run out to Sandy Park with a full crowd, especially when you’re winning, there is no better feeling. That’s the good thing about Exeter, there’s a lot of homegrown lads, so there are a lot of people that care about the club there.