'We're one of the teams to beat'
SWINDON coach Neil Loader believes his side are firmly on the radar following their perfect start to the South West 1 East season.
The Greenbridge Road club sit top of the league with three wins from their first three games, and will be looking to make it four victories in a row when they travel to Old Centralians tomorrow.
Swindon made an impressive start last season in what was their first campaign in the division, but Loader believes his side were not targeted last year and is convinced the club is now there to be shot at.
“We are still very realistic because we have only played three games and there are plenty still to go, but the boys are keeping their feet on the floor and realise there is still a lot of hard work left to go,” he said.
“The attitude towards that hard work is great and training has been great, and that is all good for the future.
“We have put ourselves out there now and we have set ourselves up as one of the teams to beat now, whereas last year we went under the radar a little bit.
“We are well and truly on the radar now, and all of the other teams are well aware that we are a tough outfit.”
Loader does not know too much about Gloucestershire opponents Old Centralians, but believes his side will be in for a tough afternoon.
“It will be tough, especially as we don’t know a huge amount about them,” he said.
“What I do know is that they are heavy up front and are quite confrontational, so it will be physical.
“They have a number 10, Dave Knight, who has been around the block and played for some quality clubs, so he will be a threat.
“That is about all we know, so what we have to do is go out and play our game and as we go through the game we have to adapt to the opposition. The boys are experienced enough and I am sure they can do it.” Swindon will be without regular fly-half Adam Westall and back Tim Berry who has gone to university, but Loader is confident replacements Sam Wells and Sam Williams have what it takes to step up in their place.
“They will be a big miss, but the guys coming in are good guys,” he said.
“Sam Wells will be in at fly-half and he will be fine I am sure because he is a good player.
“Sam Williams has been in the Newport Gwent Dragons academy and has a good pedigree, and he will go in at centre. We did think about putting him in at fly-half, but he is only 17 and it would have been a bit of a baptism of fire for him in Gloucestershire.
“We try to bring our youngsters in in a way where they will not get their confidence destroyed. We don’t want to set them back and we want to improve without being too worried.”
Elsewhere, in a much-reduced schedule for our local sides, Cricklade host Supermarine 2nds. The match was abandoned last weekend following an injury to the referee.
Minety travel to Melksham in the first round of the Dorset & Wilts 1st XV Vase.