Marcus Nel: Weston captain leaves club after four years to sign for Clifton
PUBLISHED: 09:30 08 June 2020
Copyright Andrew Collins 2016. All rights reserved
“It was a place that made me feel at home and will be ‘my club’ forever,” said Marcus Nel after announcing his departure from Weston to join Clifton.
After arriving in the United Kingdom in 2016 from Rhodes University in South Africa to study for an MSc in sport and exercise psychology at the University of the West of England, Nel heard about the club through his family, who were members, and suggested he should have a look.
As the saying goes the rest is history, but for Nel it was the beginning of an unforgettable four-year long association with the side.
“I really went there unassuming and had no clue to be honest, but my enjoyment and fondness for the club grew from there,” said Nel.
In his first season, Nel was part of the side which secured promotion to the South West Premier, where he helped Weston remain unbeaten and pick up the Tribute South West One West title.
He cited that debut campaign as providing some of his ‘best memories’ whilst at the club.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play alongside some great players and rubbing shoulders with them has been a huge help with developing myself,” he added.
“There have also been people who are hugely passionate about the game and have unique views which has helped me develop how I see and understand the game.”
Having established himself in the starting XV between 2016 and 2019, Nel was handed the captain’s armband ahead of the 2019-20 season, in place of Sam Coles.
And he led Weston to second place in the table, their highest position since 2002/03.
He added: “The way I try and view being captain is to try and lead with my actions.
“I hope that give me the confidence to do things well and do things to the best of my ability.”
But for Nel the challenge to compete at a higher level in National League Two South was just too good to turn down as he signed for Lavender And Blacks last month.
“I had been approached by one of their players to join earlier in the year and when we narrowly missed out on promotion I made the decision to further the conversation,” he said.
“It was quite a frank conversation, we spoke about how they play, how they felt that I could maybe fit in and their aspirations, which was all great to hear.
“I’m extremely excited to be moving, although it was a tough choice. I really hope the season goes ahead in some shape or form and I get an opportunity to challenge myself at that level.
“They’re clearly a quality club with some great pedigree having sustained National League Two South since I’ve at least been here.
“They also have indicated some great aspirations which is great to hear. This combined with their steep history should make it a great club to play for. I’m extremely excited for the opportunity.”
Despite his disappointment of leaving Weston, Nel has passed on his thanks to the club which helped to make and shape him as a player and the memories made will be with him all through his rugby career.
“Firstly, I’d like to thank all who have been involved in my time at the club,” he said.
“Secondly it would be to continue to find ways to pull together for the betterment of the club.
“It’s a club that is capable of playing at a higher level and needs to strive for that as a collective.
“Ultimately to continue to be an open arms club who welcome people and strive to make them better players and people.
“It was a place that made me feel at home and will be ‘my club’ forever, I hope I’ll be able to return one day.”
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