Fitness key for Swindon
SWINDON head coach Neil Loader is banking on his side’s high levels of fitness to overcome Swanage & Wareham when the two teams meet in South West 1 East this weekend.
Loader’s team slipped up at Salisbury last weekend, their second defeat in three outings, and entertain a Swanage outfit who sit second-bottom in the league table.
However, the Dorset side secured their first victory of the campaign last week - a 29-28 success against Bletchley - and Loader is aware they will be no pushover.
And the former Rugby Parma boss is relying on Swindon’s stamina to see them through.
“One of the things we really have noticed is that we seem to be finishing all our games strongly, and our fitness levels are very high,” said Loader.
“It’s something that can make a big difference and, even in the games that we’ve been losing, we’re still going strong in the last 20 minutes. “I don’t know how fit Swanage & Wareham are but we have shown what we can do and hopefully we will push them all the way.
“It’s a big part of our game. We like to play quick, expansive rugby and it’s something we’ve been building towards for four years now.
“The boys have got a good understanding of what we want.”
“I don’t know a huge amount about them apart from what we found out last year. “They’re not a very expansive team, they kept the ball quite close to the forwards but they did have two tricky wingers.
“We’re expecting much of the same this weekend.
“The games we’ve played we feel we’ve done pretty well. Maybe last week we felt we should have got something out of the game but in the end it wasn’t to be.
“We’re happy how we’ve started the season, though, and the boys are getting a good understanding of the type of rugby we’re looking for.
Sam Williams drops to the second team with Tom Mannion returning to the bench, while Dan McCarthy could make his first-team debut following his switch from Wootton Bassett.
Loader was delighted with the impression McCarthy made on his first run-out for the Swindon second-string last week and he feels like the utility player can add strength in depth to both his forward and backlines.
“Dan came across five or six weeks ago and he played last week for the second team and he was outstanding,” said Loader.
“He gives us another option, as he can play in the back row and the three-quarters, and his fitness is superb.
“We’re having a four-forward bench this weekend and that’s because we have got the options. It’s also because we feel as though Swanage are strongest up front and we need to try to match them there.”