Andover RFC the ‘Hampshire All Blacks’ begin their league campaign in London South west division three this weekend with a tough fixture away to Old Mid Whitgiftian.
Promoted last year back to this level as Hampshire champions, Andover will want to get off to a good start at the home of the South London club.
“We’ve had a good pre season and retained most of our squad from last season which is a real positive.” said director of rugby Andy Waite.
“The key for us will be to get strong sides out for these long away games, but we believe we now have a group of young players who are committed to the cause and we are really looking forward to the challenge.”
“There have been some changes during the close season both in playing and coaching staff but overall we have come out in good shape.”
Waite went on to explain.
“Marc Wilding has retired as a first team player, but retains his senior coaching position with the club, as does backs specialist Sam Froggett who will still be playing though.”
“Wilding has also joined the executive committee in the social and ambassadorial role of club captain which is a real boost for the club.”
“Callum Staff has chosen to rejoin Basingstoke, but Alex Kane makes the opposite switch back to Andover which is great news and with Niko Rowe returning from long term injury it will be like having a quality new signing in the centre department.”
“We have a further couple of signings to announce shortly and have a new group of youngsters pressing for first team rugby, led by the ever improving Ash Gait who is really knocking on the door.”
In other changes Jody Morgan takes over the reigns as second fifteen coach and manager and his first job was to appoint club stalwart Craig Allen as his captain.
Morgan said “We too have been promoted and are about to take a step into the unknown having never played in the top second team league before.”
“I feel Craig both as a player and person is the kind of strong enthusiastic character we need to really make us tick and we’re really looking forward to it.” he added.
Dan Gillan continues as third team captain and he too will be looking to push his team further this term.
“We’ve had some great commitment from third string players in pre season and we should be much better prepared for what’s to come than we have been in the past” said Gillan
So its all systems go for Andover on Saturday and exciting times ahead.
For more information about Andover RFC, see their website: www.arfcya.co.uk