First chance for supoprters to see new team
Rugby Lions begin their pre-season programme today (Thursday) when they play neighbours Rugby St Andrews at Webb Ellis Road, kick off 7.30pm.
This is the first opportunity the Lions club and their supporters will have to see how the new squad is shaping up as they prepare to take Rugby back into the league structure, writes Alistair Bruten.
While there has been a good level of attendance through pre-season training under the new coaching team of Robert Walton, Rob Dignum and Ian Renard, this season, and at this level especially, no one at the club will assume anyone is actually secured on the player list until they actually make themselves available and start playing games.
Last Thursday was the final training session at the AEI sports ground before a move back to Webb Ellis Road and Renard said that it was a case of the coaches and players going into the unknown in their new league of the Midlands 5 West (South), as even at this bottom rung on the league ladder the other member clubs will have the advantage of some degree of continuity in their status and playing resources. That said, it was very good to see some familiar faces from last season at training last week as these are the men who made Lions’ return to league rugby possible.
Unfortunately, although one familiar and influential figure from last season, Jack Riley, was chatting among the other players prior to training starting, he will miss the opening couple of months or so of the season as he has suffered a broken ankle.
Renard said the team of coaches were excited about the prospect of taking a new squad into a completely new league and seeing how well they can progress as the weeks go on. It is a throwback season in that the league games will be interspersed with cup games but one suspects that the clear emphasis of the club will be concentrated on trying to gain promotion at the first time of asking.
Further pre-season games involve a visit from Rushden & Higham 2s on Saturday, August 31 and on Saturday, September 7 a three-sided tournament involving Old Laurentian 2s and Lutterworth 2s again at Webb Ellis Road.
Saturday, August 31 is also the club open day.