A new season and new venues.
This weekend we travel 123 miles down the M4 to Taunton RFC – last season promoted from SW3 as champions and honoured as the BBC South West Sports Team of 2009.
They have started this season with a decent return from their three games, an opening day loss to leaders Henley Hawks, 36-16, has seen two wins on the trot, 30-19 against Lydney and a win last weekend at the Athletic Ground against Richmond 25-26.
Taunton Director of Rugby Lee Waddon was quoted in The Rugby Paper last week as being happy with life so far in National 2 South, "two wins from three games is a healthy start" . Indeed the fact that Richmond scored in the 80 minute meant the score line was somewhat flattering to the hosts.
Ealing last week took on unbeaten Southend, and were held to a nail biting 32-32 draw, in a game that DoR Mike Cudmore may look back on in the months to come as a positive. He commented "When you have a lead and lose it, it is always disappointing. Our control in the second half was not as efficient as the first and that put us under pressure. We had opportunities in the second half to put Southend under pressure but did not complete these. In time we will look back and probably feel two points is a good result ".
So we take on Taunton, who will be looking to create a stir in National 2 South as the top teams try to make at impression at Hyde Lane. Without a doubt it will be a tough place to go and get a result, but fresh challenges are what we like!
Taunton RFC in 2010
Since they were promoted this last season, there has been a flurry of transfer activities that has seen many new faces arrive at Hyde Lane as they look to strengthen.
They signed around eight new players this season, many with premiership & championship experience. Amongst them fly half Tony Yapp, ex Worcester, Bedford Blues and Exeter. He also appeared for the BaaBaa’s and England A. Wing Jason Luff arrived via Launceston & Exeter, prop Steve Ward from Gloucester, Worcester, Lydney & Exeter. Added to them the sizable bulk of Ex Irish, Bristol and Birmingham lock/back row Mark Gabey, shows their intention is not to gain mid table respectability!
So far Taunton sit in 9th position, two wins from three games, 72 points for and 80 against. five tries scored, including 1
one penalty try. Their top points scorer is fly half Gary Kingdom with 37 points to his name, including five conversions and nine penalties. Kingdom like may other new signings at Taunton has Championship experience, with Plymouth, Launceston and Exeter.
Head coach Kieran Power said ahead of training this week, "Taunton have some real quality players in their squad and with their win last weekend at Richmond show’s that they are a real threat to be reckoned with and that we will have to produce our best performance of the season so far to come away with a result".
Looking back at the Southend game,he added , "To play Southend this early in the season was always going to be a tricky fixture, and the way the boy’s approached the game was spot on and the first half we felt we controlled the game very well, in the second half we lost that control and gave away possession a bit to easily which enabled Southend to dictate play far too much in the second half and enabled them to get back into the game. I felt for the players after the game as they deserved more for their efforts but to come away with two points from one of the harder places to go in the league we can be proud of."
Previous results between Ealing Trailfinders and Taunton RFC
This is as far as I know , the first league meeting between the two clubs, so history will be made!