Kench adapting to Esher life in National One

First published in Sport Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

Esher star Ian Kench has revealed the appointment of head coach Ollie Smith was key to his decision to stay at Molesey Road.
 

The 25-year-old is in his second season at the club, having been part of the squad that was relegated from the Championship last term.
 

It is the first time the lock, pictured right, has performed in the third tier of English rugby having been with Sale Sharks and Nottingham earlier in his career.
 

Esher have started the campaign well under Smith since he was put in charge following the move to appoint Mike Schmid as the club’s first chief executive.
 

Kench, who played in the back at Wharfedale on Saturday, received offers to remain in the Championship, but admitted as soon as the former Leicester Tigers centre was given the nod, the decision to stay was easy.
 

“Ollie is Leicester through and through, and what better club to base your approach on,” he said.
 

“The coach has brought a real professional edge. We work hard and play hard.
 

“I had a few offers to go elsewhere, but once they appointed Ollie it was easy.  He was a big factor in my thinking.
 

“With the likes of Tom Cheeseman being here already and Gareth Morgan coming on board it was a no brainer.”
 

Kench, who is on a part-time contract, combines playing for Esher with coaching at St George’s College as he aims to train as a teacher.
 

But for now the former Loughborough University student feels he has at least one side of his life settled.
 

“Esher is a proper rugby club.  It is nice to be in the bar after a game and be able to chat to players from all the other teams,” he added.
 

“There is always something going on and that is something I’ve missed in the professional game.
 

“I’ve never played in National One before and it is not as easy as I thought it might be.
 

“Playing the style of rugby we try to involves a lot of running. It is hard work.
 

“We haven’t got a massive squad, but there is plenty of quality here.

“I think the key to success this season is going to be keeping every one fit .  If we can do that it should be a good year.”

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