A few thoughts from Head Coach Dom Saunders ahead of a double header away to Gravesendians.
Sitting at 2nd and 4th in the league over Christmas, were you happy with the club’s position?
It would be wrong of me to sit here and say I’m not happy with that, but dig a little deeper and the lads will tell you before I do that we missed a few opportunities. Especially in the 2ndXV, injuries quickly racked up just before Christmas and we lost our way slightly in the last few games and in the 1stXV the lads know they didn’t do themselves justice when we went away to a good Ashford side. However, what we have done is put ourselves in a great position for second half of the season. The break will have done the squad a lot of good and we will begin to get a few players back off the injury table which is always nice. Like I said at the start of the season we haven’t set any wild sweeping goals we are just focusing on each challenge week by week, which has served us well so far in getting to where we are, so I’m happy with that. But we know we have two huge challenges this week against Andy Miller’s men at Old Gravesendians, they will feel slightly aggrieved I imagine after we just pipped them at our place earlier in the season so we are expecting them to be fully fired up for Saturday. Some of their scores recently have certainly caught the eye so we need to be on our A – game to compete.
What has pleased you most from the first block of the season?
There has been a huge amount that has pleased me before Christmas, but two key things stand out in particular. Firstly, the lads have really begun to take pride in their training and work on the little things personally that they know will help them become better players and it’s great to see the balance gradually changing to where the players are the ones now leading the sessions and correcting bits here and there. Secondly, on the pitch we have taken our defence to a new level, there is a real understanding about what we are trying to do with our defence both physically and mentally in what it stands for. The lads exemplified this against Cranbrook where the attitude and emotional energy showed the love and trust that the boys have for one another in D.
What are you looking to improve on going into the second half of the season?
That’s a tough one in some respects, we are always looking to improve in all areas of our game so to pick just a few would be difficult. But a stand out I would like to see is us taking our chances better. In the second round of fixtures teams will know what to expect therefore you shouldn’t be expecting as many opportunities so when those chances come we have to nail them. Otherwise it’s just about continually upskilling the players as rugby players and people to take our game to a new level. Personally I’m just excited to see how far this group of players can go as I still believe they are only just scratching the surface of their potential. Fingers crossed we can put a tick next to week 13 on Saturday evening and see where that takes us moving forward.