DoR Monthly Column: Mark my words

27th January 2017

Best wishes to everyone for 2017. Once again we launched the London RL season in style on Friday at the HAC, welcoming Super League Champions Wigan Warriors once again.  I don’t think a better rugby event exists anywhere in the world and this year both teams gave us a game to remember.

 

We have arguably had our most successful pre-season to date – having recruited well, focussed on key areas that needed to be strengthened, and also recruited players who are a good fit for the club, we aim to build on the success of 2016.

 

When reviewing last year, it is clear we were significantly weaker than some of our rivals who progressed from the Super 8’s to the semi-finals. We have spent our pre-season working towards addressing these areas and players and coaches alike have shown a hunger and determination to step up in 2017.

The board continue to work tirelessly behind the scenes and the Capital Challenge is always a pleasant way to start our season especially when we win.  From our perspective, we were pretty dominant throughout the game, until the final ten minutes, where a combination of superb match fitness and some complacency from the Skolars team allowed Wigan back in to the game. These are areas that we will work on to ensure we don’t repeat these mistakes in our League 1 games.

 

It was great to see skipper Dave Williams lift the Capital Challenge Trophy – Dave seems to be in the best shape of his career and is playing his best rugby.  Can’t think of anyone more deserving.  Without highlighting individuals, it was exciting to see the new recruits and younger members of the squad perform to such a high standard, whilst the established players have also benefitted from a focussed pre-season and are looking in great shape.  We had several notable absentees form the game on Friday, either through injury or unavailability, once everyone is available, every player will be under pressure to maintain a place in the 17. Saturday is another test – we will look to build further momentum and iron-out some of the flaws from last week.  It’s a great day for the sport in London – three very significant consecutive fixtures, that clearly demonstrates the strength in depth of London RL.  By the time I write my next column, we will have played the South Wales Ironmen in the League 1 Cup – the competition worked well for us last year, and we narrowly missed out on a place in the final.  We will be looking to go one better in 2017.  Following our trip to South Wales, all focus will be on the League 1 debutantes, Toronto Wolfpack.  We will provide a warm welcome to our friends from across the Atlantic who in many ways are following in the footsteps of the Skolars -we wish them every success following their visit to New River on March 4th.

 

Hope to see you all at New River on Saturday.

 

Mark

Director of Rugby

London Skolars

 


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