Profile - Neil Mason
Flanker - Born 1983 (10th Jan) joined the Worcester Academy from
Moseley in 2001 having played his Mini & Junior rugby with Moseley until the end
of his Under 17 year. He featured in half of Worcester’s
promotion season campaign in 2003/04. Winner of both supporters and coaches Player of
The Season award in 2005/6. Included in the Birmingham Post "XV
of the finest around" in May 2006 and again in 2008 and 2009. Captained the team for several
games in 2007/8. Supporters Player of The Season again in 2007/8.
An essential part of the Twickenham Cup winning team. As Brian Dick said in the Birmingham Post's Twickenham preview "Mason is another home-grown product though his skills were fine-tuned at Worcester where he helped the Warriors win the National One title in 2004. He is producing yet another oustanding season and while discipline remains a constant effort his powerful ball carrying make him indispensible at blindside."
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Programme profile - Neil Mason: September 2007
To captain Moseley 1st XV is an important responsibility. He is expected to lead by example, to ensure that the team adheres to the game plan laid down by the coaches (and in extreme circumstances change it), to liaise diplomatically with the referee and to maintain the motivation of the players who have not been preferred, all the while maintaining his own specialist game at peak levels of performance.
Wing forward, Neil Mason, has recently been appointed 1st XV Captain and it is interesting to consider the attributes and experience he brings to this key role.
Neil was born in Wolverhampton on the 10th January 1983 and is thus 26. He went to school in Cheslyn Hay and then on to Worcs Sixth Form College. Neil joined the Worcester Academy from Moseley having played his junior rugby with the club until his U16 season. He scored a try on his National 1 debut for Worcester, on March 9 2002 when he was 19, in a 74-14 defeat of Otley. Neil featured in half of Worcester’s promotion season campaign in 2003/04 and was winner of both the supporters’ and coaches’ Player of the Season awards in 2005/06. In 2003 he gained representative honours with England’s Under 21A team.
Neil played around forty games for Worcester in both National League One and the Premiership and spoke about life as a professional rugby player. To play for a winning side in the top flight in both England and even better in Europe is a tremendous experience, to sit on the bench in successive matches is extremely frustrating and not to be selected at all, after sweating blood in training during the previous week, is hell.
Life at Worcester became difficult for Neil when the future English international, Pat Sanderson, joined the club from Harlequins. He was loaned to Moseley for a short spell at the start of the 2005/06 season, was soon recalled, but the loan was later extended. Neil became a part-time professional Moseley player at the start of the 2006/07 season and his determination and strength were instrumental in retaining Moseley’s National League One status.
Unusually, Neil is able to play at both blind-side and open-side wing forward and the coaches avail themselves of this flexibility. When asked which position he preferred he thought carefully, for they require different skills and success brings different satisfactions to the player. On balance Neil opted for blindside, mainly because of the ball carrying options.
We discussed the rising tide of expectation amongst the Moseley members. Neil was concerned that many may not appreciate that in National One the goal posts were continually changing as more clubs are becoming full-time professional outfits (ten at the start of the season). The full-time sides have huge advantages (fitness, video analysis, endless rehearsal of plays etc) over the part-timers which usually negate any inherent superior talent the part-time teams may have.
I also asked Neil how he was approaching his new role as Captain. He intends to lead by example, rather than exhortation, but recognises that he has to ensure that the adrenalin of the players does not boil over into penalties. He is conscious also that he still has a lot to learn in handling the referees, who often have different approaches to misdemeanours on the field of play, but this comes with experience
Already, in his relatively short first class rugby career so far, Neil has some wonderful memories for his future grandchildren, which include Moseley’s promotion to National One and winning at Waterloo at the end of last season. His worst memory is of being fully fit but not playing and how depressing this can become,
Life for Neil away from rugby is dominated by his responsibilities as a Director of a haulage company and his family. Eight months ago he and his partner Tamar had a lovely baby girl, Lottie, and it is clear that Neil has taken to fatherhood as a duck takes to water. We just hope that she allows him a full night’s sleep on Friday nights!
Moseley Rugby Club can be confident that its new captain will lead the 1st XV from the front. We wish him well as he prepares to build on the good start the team has made to the new season.
DOB 10th January 1983
Height 6' 2” (1.88m)
W 14st 8lb(93kg)