SWINDON head coach Nick Brooks said it was ‘an absolute honour’ to lead his team this season – a campaign which, in all likelihood, ended in a 17-14 defeat to Wellington in the South West Counties RFU Intermediate Cup final.

The Wiltshire outfit was potentially just two wins away from playing at ‘the Home of Rugby’, Twickenham Stadium, following a series of crushing victories that led them to the final eight of the national competition for step-seven sides.

However, three unanswered tries from the visitors put Wellington in the ascendancy during the first half at Greenbridge Road before Swindon responded in the second half, thanks to a Ben Saville try and the boot of Matt Loader, to make it a grandstand finish.

Though Brooks’ men were unable to find the points they desired, the Swindon coach was still overjoyed with the attitude of squad.

He said: “I’m immensely proud of the effort the boys put in, and the spirit of all the guys is second to none.

“The way the whole team performed on the day, throughout this cup and the league campaign, it’s been an absolute honour of mine to be their coach.

“I think the rest of the coaching staff would say the same as well.

“It’s been an honour to work with all of the guys this year, I think they’ve enjoyed the build up to this game and they certainly did themselves proud.

“Nothing can take away from what they’ve achieved this season.”

Though the global health pandemic has likely cut short the amateur rugby season, and therefore hopes of playing at Twickenham for this campaign, Brooks is hoping the defeat will teach his players far more than they could have learned if they had scraped through.

The Swindon coach said the dream of competing on the hallowed turf was not over, instead postponed for another 12 months as his players get ready for another season in Southern Counties South in September.

Recalling where it all went wrong for Swindon at the weekend though, Brooks admitted it was case of missed opportunities.

He said: “It was a fierce game, and both sides played exceptionally well. If you were to watch it from a neutral point of view, it was a fantastic game of rugby.

“Both sides gave it their all, and Wellington were very good at punishing us when we made mistakes.

“They scored three quick tries in the first half, but they only converted one. And in the second half, we were able to hold them out.

“We were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over, but ultimately it was a case of missing out on key opportunities.”