SCRUM-HALF Rhodri Adamson has been anticipating today’s visit of Blaydon with more relish than most since his summer move to Butts Park.
The No.9 – who celebrated his 23rd birthday last weekend – spent the last two seasons at the north east club while completing his studies at Newcastle University, making 51 appearances for them, and is looking forward to renewing some old friendships.
“I signed for Blaydon after my first year at university and really enjoyed it there,” said Adamson, who has been an ever-present for Cov this season. “They are a nice, hard-working, old school rugby club.
“It was my first experience of that standard of rugby and I didn’t know what to expect.
“I played scrum-half for the first season and then full-back for most of last season. I remember coming to Coventry, it was a daunting experience – the second time it was wet, dark, and there were 1,000 people shouting at the boys.
“I still speak to them, I have good friends there, and Saturday will be a strange one for me. It was definitely one I looked for first when the fixtures came out.
“I left on good terms, I have nothing nasty to prove to them, and if I’m selected, I’m looking forward to playing against old mates with new mates.”
Adamson’s rugby career began at school and with his local club, Winchester, where he played from the age of eight up to colts and then for the senior first team, breaking the club record for points scored in his first season.
Before university he spent six months in Australia where he played alongside hooker Scott Tolmie, another summer arrival at Cov, for The Associates, in Western Australia.
After graduating in ancient history earlier this year, Adamson was on the verge of signing for Henley Hawks before Cov’s director of rugby Rowland Winter presented him with an offer he felt he couldn’t refuse.
“I was looking more towards a London side, my home is 45 minutes south of there,” he said, “but then Rowland got in contact and it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss – a big club with major history and ambitions. It was just too good to think about anything else.
“Then I had a think about what I wanted to get into as a career outside rugby, it was property, and there was a good Masters course in real estate management at Birmingham City University, which I am now doing, so it all fell into place for me.”
On the field it’s been so far, so good for Adamson at Cov, starting five games, coming off the bench in the other four and underlining the value of his versatility by covering at fly-half when required and kicking three penalties against Esher.
“I’m really enjoying it – it’s completely different to anything I’ve done before, a really professional set up, and I liked it that pretty much everyone in the squad was new to the club, there were no cliques and everyone was friendly.
“It made pre-season enjoyable, and I think we have a good mix of characters.
“I didn’t at all expect to be starting in the team when Rowland told me there were two scrum-halves he’d signed who were Championship players, and I knew I had to work hard in pre-season.
“I had to get my scrum-half skills back after a year at full-back and I’m still some way off where I want to be. Then Sam Grasso came in and I was on the back foot again, but I think I got lucky with injuries.
“I’ve been learning a lot from Pete White, he’s a very good player, and although I’d love to be starting in the 9 shirt every time, if I’m not I know I will continue to learn and hopefully improve.
“Three years ago I wasn’t expecting to be involved in National One rugby at all and whether or not I can go further, I’m not sure, but I’m happy with what I’ve got – I’d love to stay a while at Cov and see where it goes.”
In common with England internationals Henry Slade and Chris Pennell, Adamson is a type 1 insulin-dependent diabetic.
“I was diagnosed around the age of 11,” he said. “It can be a tough one to manageat times.
“If my levels aren’t right I can feel fatigued and it can be a struggle. I can be switched on, but my body isn’t functioning.
“But I’ve got a lot better with it, since I’ve been playing in National One I’ve made sure that I really monitor it well.
“I know the level I need my blood sugar to be at for a game, so in between waking up and arriving at the game I probably check myself five or six times and then three or four times during the warm-up before the kick-off.
“Normally I have it spot on now and I’ve never had to come off in a game because of it.”