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In Week 1, LUSU met with the University to discuss plans for how Lancaster intends to secure a win at Roses 2015. This academic year the tournament, which is Europe’s biggest inter-varsity competition, sees Lancaster compete away at the University of York.
Speaking to SCAN about the importance of winning away and the emphasis both the University and LUSU have put on guaranteeing a victory, James Marenghi, Sports Development Manager, said: “The key thing to consider is that we’ve not won Roses away for thirty years this year. We want to try and change that or at least heavily close the gap.”
In terms of planning, Marenghi said there is a lot more going into what they can do to make the teams successful this year. “For the first time ever we’re working closer with groups to make sure we can get the best out of them so that they’re in the best possible position to be winning in York this year.”
He also said “I think the one thing that we want to be doing is motivating students so they believe that they can win and that they’re going over there with the intention of winning and that we’re there around the weekend to actually support them.” Marenghi also added that: “because of the fact that we don’t have to organise the event, there is more time that can go into working with the teams on the sporting performance stuff.”
Compared to previous years competing away, he said: “While we’ve always put it out there that we want them to win, this is the first year we’re actually backing it up in terms of supporting them to actually win as well. Now we’re having teams sign up to the idea of winning. We’d expect that with everything extra that we’re doing that they are going to be putting in plans themselves from now.” He told SCAN that they have emphasised to the teams that the preparation for Roses isn’t “a two-week thing.” He said: “we’ve got six months, start training hard… everything you do, do it with Roses in mind.”
One of the ideas that LUSU and the University are trying to encourage the teams to understand, Marenghi said, is: “Roses will be won or lost before Easter. You can probably make a difference in a handful of the sports in two or three weeks but actually the majority of them, like 35 out of the 40 sports, will be won now, because the difference in teams will be so great that you can’t turn that around in a couple of weeks. But actually, everything that you do now will mean that Roses will be won or lost in the first two terms.”
While there are many plans already in preparation to ensure a win away, Salman Rukhsar VP (Activities) told SCAN: “We really want to start telling people about it but the Vice Chancellor worries that York will do the exact same if they find out, so if we want this advantage, we should hold back our plans.” Marenghi agreed, suggesting Lancaster wanted to take a “surprise approach”. Therefore, SCAN cannot at present reveal any of the exact plans proposed for next year. However, Marenghi said: “the one thing we can say for definite is that this was all based on student feedback from our sports teams and societies, based on what they think will help them win Roses and be successful and we’ve taken that evidence and presented it to the Vice Chancellor.” He added: “Traditionally, difficulties of winning away from home are students not being able to travel because of exam commitments and that people have to sleep on lecture theatre floors the night before matches.”