Young centre takes important step in development in European Rugby Challenge Cup.
Academy centre Adam Redman became the latest home grown talent to play first team rugby on Saturday in an important step in his development.
The former Durham School pupil continued his journey back from a knee injury sustained in late 2014, by coming off the bench as a replacement for Tom Penny and playing nearly 50mins.
While this necessitated Redman lined up at fullback, a position he had not played since school, he along with former Falcons U18 teammates Callum Chick, Ruardih Dawson and Dan Marshall gave maximum effort as they tried to influence the game.
While the result went to the hosts, Redman relished the experience and had plenty of time to prepare, with the squad travelling to Russia being given advance notice as visa applications were completed.
“We got told we were going to be involved quite early as that trip had to be planned quite a bit in advance and when they told me it was like great. You then try and step it up in training and you try to make sure everything is perfect and you make a good impression for your first involvement with the first team.”
“We travelled out there on Thursday, being surrounded by people who play for the first team week in week out and the first team coaches it’s nice to be around that and see what it is like in terms of travelling.”
With Redman taking in an array of new experiences, one of the big moments of the trip ahead of the game, came the day before when he and the squad arrived at Yug Stadium for their final preparations.
“One of the best things was walking off the bus and walking onto the pitch and have a walk round, trying to soak as much of that in as possible, You’re only going to get your debut once so I was just trying to enjoy it as much as possible.”
That chance came in the 33rd minute of Saturday’s game, when injury enforced Tom Penny to come off the field and sent Redman into the fray.
“Midway through the first half, two of the back three got injured and needed to come off, so Dan Marshall and I got the nod to come onto the pitch. I was excited and I remember thinking this is my chance to come on and make and impact and hopefully change the game.”
“When Dean told me I was going to be coming on, he said ‘Adam, you’re coming on at 15’ and hearing that from someone like Dean Richards is something I won’t forget.”
“Walking onto the pitch, I just thought of all the work I’d put in to get me to that moment after my injury and it was quite a proud one. I was a little bit nervous, but I was very focused on trying to make the impact that the team needed.”
“I came on at fullback which I played at school but which I hadn’t played much for the Falcons, but I felt fairly comfortable doing that, you get a lot of space in that position.”
By the end of the game, four of the club’s most recent Under 18 graduates were alongside each other, with Callum Chick and Ruaridh Dawson also in the line up which added to the experience for Redman.
“That was good, you grow up with these people and you know them from before being in the academy, so they are friends before. It’s nice to see and it means that the academy is working if they are a few of us there and couldn’t be more thankful to the setup that has given us this opportunity.”
“Marko and Jimmy are fantastic when it comes to this sort of stuff; they are the most supportive coaches and mentors that you could wish for because they ensure you are feeling alright, you’re looking forward to it and that you know what you need to know.”
“They’ve got that comforting sense around them that you look to them for guidance and support which makes it a more smooth transition.”
With his senior debut now under his belt, the focus for Redman is to make sure it is only the first of many for the Falcons.
“I’m hoping now I’ve made my first senior appearance to push on. There are A League games coming up where I’d like to be involved and then hopefully be in contention for more game form there and develop step by step.”