SWINDON Rugby Club go into the 2012/13 season looking to take one more step towards achieving their ultimate goal of sustaining National League rugby.
The Greenbridge Road club performed superbly on their return to South West One East last season as they maintained their philosophy of attacking rugby, with former Lydney fly-half Adam Westall pulling the strings.
The club have been working on and off the field towards a place in the national game, and a host of new signings, including former Wootton Bassett captain Gary Williamson, have strengthened their cause.
While promotion is not firmly on the agenda this season, coach Neil Loader is optimistic of success but will always be looking one step ahead.
“What we have been trying to do for the last three years is attempting to get the structure all in place in order to sustain National League rugby,” he said.
“But it is not only about the playing side of things, because we want the best coaches in the area coaching the players, and that the structure is correct.
“We also want to bring some of the best quality young kids too, and that is massively important to the future of the club.
“The expectation is for us to do at least what we did last year, building on the style of play and working on our frailties.
“We were a team that scored a lot of points because of the style of rugby we play, but we also struggled against some teams that played a negative style, and our creative players will need to learn how to deal with that.
“We have got to tighten up, and we have started to look at that with a coach looking especially at defence this season.
“But we will never stop trying to play attractive rugby, because that is what we are good at.”
Swindon open their season against a side they faced twice during the last campaign, and Loader believes a fast start is vital.
“They are usually quite a physical outfit and we will have to be on our game around the breakdown and be patient in order to get possession,” he said.
“They try and create chaos in your back line and we didn’t deal with that very well at all, and we are going to have to think of ways of dealing with that in order to play the sort of game we want to play.
“It is hard to deal with, but we want to continue to play our way.
“We have a very exciting back line out and it will be interesting to see how they do together, although Tim Berry will be going off to university and will not be available to us all year, which is a shame.
“Starting well is important though, and a home win would give us some momentum which could be very important to us.
“Some new teams have come into our league too which makes it difficult, and on the grape vine we hear that Bracknell have got a huge playing budget and they will be the pre-season favourites.
“Newbury have come tumbling down but we don’t know what strength they are, and Old Centralians have come up too and will be tidy.
“It is going to be a tough league, and there will be no easy games that is for sure.”