Poland have “motivation and ambition” to improve, says key man Piotrowicz
Wojciech Piotrowicz, the Poland stand-off, was the main man last weekend, kicking seven penalties as Poland defeated Germany in Gdynia.
And now the 31-year-old playmaker wants the national team to kick on from that triumph - and the October victory away to Ukraine - when they welcome Switzerland to the Stadionie Miejskim in Warsaw on Rugby Europe Trophy 2021/22 duty this Saturday (2.30pm local, 1.30pm UTC).
“We are very motivated at the moment, but of course we don’t underestimate our opponents. We know it is going to be really tough game against Switzerland, equally hard or even harder than the Germany game,” Piotrowicz said.
“This week we are preparing, we are concentrated and we believe that we will win the game.
“I hope that rugby will step up in Poland in the coming years.
“I also hope that those recent wins that we have had will encourage young people to play rugby, to start their journey with rugby, because it is fantastic sport which gives you a lot of opportunities.
“We don’t want to get too euphoric yet, we are building, but there is a long way to go.
“We are sportsmen, so we have ambition to play better and better. We would like to get to the Championship although we know we are still far away from the level from of the teams that are playing in that competition.
“However, the motivation and ambition is there so we want to keep moving forward”.
Poland’s recent two wins have come under the watchful eye of new head coach Christian Hitt, the 32-year-old Welshman and his coaching staff having an instant impact over the last few months as the men’s national team have climbed into the world’s top 30.
“I think they have a really professional approach,” Piotrowicz said of Hitt’s coaching team that includes former Wales cap Morgan Stoddart.
“All the training has structure and we spend a lot of time analysing not only the way our opponents play, but also the way we play in games and during trainings.
“I believe Christian is very good coach.
“We say in Poland that appetite grows with eating. So, the spirit in our squad is strong and we would like it to continue this way.
“And in the country we are all one big rugby family. We are proud of the great work the women’s team has done recently, particularly in sevens, and we support them strongly.
“They are also showing us that we can achieve a lot in rugby when you really want it, they are kind of role models for us.
“They are playing really well at the moment and we want them to grow in coming years.”
So, how did Piotrowicz get into rugby?
I grew up in Lublin and I started to play rugby because it is my family sport,” the man who plays for current Polish champions Ogniwo Sopot explains.
“My father and my brother used to play rugby. My dad became a referee after that and now he is the head of referees in Poland, so it was always going to be rugby for me.
“I had started with soccer, but mum sent me to rugby training aged six and I have now played for 25 years!
“Back in 2011 I made my full Poland debut in a match against Germany in Frankfurt. Alex Beccau got injured, so at half-time I got my chance.
“Tomasz Putra, who was our coach that time, told me after the game that it was strong debut and we caused an upset by winning.
“I have loved doing my best for Poland ever since.”
By Gary Heatly
Images: Poland Rugby Union