RUGBY UNION: Captain Winpenny keeping cooler

thisisoxfordshire: Joe Winpenny lifts the Oxfordshire Cup as Chinnor captain last season. Now he hopes to lead them to the National 3 South West title Joe Winpenny lifts the Oxfordshire Cup as Chinnor captain last season. Now he hopes to lead them to the National 3 South West title

JOE Winpenny says he is a calmer and better player after a year as Chinnor captain.

The 29-year-old prop took over last February when lock Matt Hutchings suffered a neck injury.

Since then, Chinnor have lost only twice – and have won every game this campaign.

Winpenny admits he has been fairly hot-headed in the past, but has adapted his game after being chosen to lead the side.

He said it had been a big responsibility to replace Hut-chings, who had been skipper for more than four years.

“I felt it was a great honour, but very intimidating,” said Winpenny.

“I now feel more comfortable in the role. I think I am calmer to be honest.

“You need to lead by example and try not to get rattled by people around you.

“If I lose my head, it is carte blanche for the rest of the team.”

Winpenny added: “I am now making tactical decisions whereas I used to be to a bit more gung ho. I think that reflects in my game.

“I am now more prepared to do the hard work and not get the credit if we are scoring four tries or more each week.

“It doesn’t matter who scores the tries.”

Winpenny’s nickname used to be ‘Sin-binny’ due to the number of yellow cards he received, but he is now known as ‘Gym-penny’.

He explained: “I am trying to work a lot more on my fitness.

“But if you want to be competing at this level or anything higher, everyone has to do that.”

Winpenny, who has played for Chinnor’s first team for 11 years, is in no doubt how their current squad ranks.

“Man-for-man, this is the best Chinnor team I have known, and I have played since I was 18,” said Winpenny.

“The mixture of skills, pace and power means we are in a very good position.

“I can hand or heart say it is our strongest side.”

During those years, Chinnor twice won the South West 1 title – in 2005-06 and 2007-08 – but were relegated after one season.

Winpenny said: “The last two times we won the league, we have relied on a few strong players.

“We have such a balance now that anyone can score tries and make breaks.”

Reflecting on Saturday’s 35-3 victory over Exmouth, Winpenny said: “We ground down a really strong team.

“It is important for us to have more than one side to our game.

“We want to be able to adapt to different situations and conditions.”

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