Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Defensive coach eyeing good start to season

RAMS defence coach Danny Batty is optimistic having a core group of players and competition for places can help the Old Bath Road side come flying out of the blocks whenever the National 1 season begins, writes Richard Ashton.

The Sonning-based club had been working towards the possibility of a November restart, but that was put on hold when the RFU announced last Thursday there would be no competitive league action until January at the earliest due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

However, with a settled squad supplemented by some new recruits, Batty — who also coaches at Henley College — believes they remain in a good position.

He said: “You can’t put a price on the team cohesion and the continuity you get by not having just a core group of players, but a whole squad who’ve come back with some new additions.

“Knitting those new players in becomes so much easier rather than having to take on half a new team for example. It’s been great.”

He continued: “There’s a lot of competition for places and that is massive in terms of a club or a team being successful.

“You can see that in the Premiership at the moment, the teams with strong squads like Exeter are flying high, and a lot of that is not just down to squad rotation, but the fact the guys are really having to fight hard to get the starting shirt.”

Rams have been back enjoying squad training for four weeks after the RFU moved to Stage D of their Return to Rugby roadmap, and Batty said there is a terrific atmosphere among the group.

He revealed: “It’s been really nice to be back and it’s all gone really well so far — the guys seem to be really enjoying it.

“Coming out of lockdown they’d all kept themselves in pretty good order, and (strength and conditioning coaches) Joe Southwell and Daryl Watson had worked really well with them, so subsequently they’re in a good place physically.

“All coaches at every club are facing the dilemma of not knowing when the season is going to start, but I think you’ve just got to keep challenging the players and make it as stimulating as possible. If you do that with good intensity, they’ll keep responding.

“We’re hoping to start in the same way as where we were at (last season), or even a bit sharper, and then it’s just about adding the fine detail game by game. Hopefully that will be enough.”

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