RUGBY: Saddlebacks’ new frontier
DEVIZES skipper Tom Collins has warned his squad that how they respond to adversity will define the destiny of the club’s debut season at South West level .
The Saddlebacks will break new ground in their 82-year history as they host Northamptonshire outfit Towcestrians in their opening South West One East clash of the season at London Road on Saturday (3pm).
Collins’ men soared to the Southern Counties South title last term to book their place in level six league rugby for the first time ever, winning 19 of their 22 matches en route to the crown, but he admits they are unlikely to enjoy such sustained success in the 2013-14 campaign.
Heavyweights such as Windsor, Cheltenham, Reading, Swindon and Salisbury number among their divisional opponents and how his players deal with their status as new boys in a more competitive league will, he believes determine what sort of impact the club can make.
“It’s a blank canvas for us this season and we don’t really know what to expect,’’ the scrum-half said “I’d expect that we will lose a few more this season and we might even take a few thumpings, but it’s about how we regroup and move on to the next challenge during the course of the season.
“That’s the challenge for me as a captain too.
“We’ve been used to winning games recently and it’s going to test me to think about how you motivate the team. It’s what I’m looking forward to – how we react. Hopefully, we’ll see the lads keep their heads up and want to train harder and do even better.’’
“I’m excited about it. It’s the new challenge that the club needs.’’
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