Eton hope to pass opening National League South test
PUBLISHED: 10:00 04 September 2015
Head coach Jamie Connors previews this weekend’s opening match in the National League
Eton Manor take a step into the unknown tomorrow (Saturday) as they play their first ever match in National League Three South, but head coach Jamie Connors is well prepared for their opening fixture of the season against Hertford.
Although the New Wilderness outfit have never appeared in the National League before, their New Zealand coach is familiar with this weekend’s opposition.
He played with Hertford’s Luke Sloan at Southend and believes Manor’s opening fixture is one they should be looking to win.
“I know a little bit about Hertford because I know their director of rugby Paul Allen, he was in charge of Luton for the last couple of years,” said Connors.
“He has come across to Hertford and I know their captain from last season. I used to play with him at Southend.
“Luke is quite a good player and they have been a mid-table side in National Three for the last couple of seasons, so it’s probably not a bad one to start with at home if I’m honest.
“If we want to do well, we need to be giving teams like this a pretty good run for their money, especially at the New Wilderness.”
The Manor coach admits the excitement in the camp has been building as they lead up to the start of the new campaign.
Connors’ team had been so close to achieving promotion in each of the last three years, before finally reaching their goal at the end of the 2014/15 season.
They had lost successive London One play-offs in the previous two campaigns, away from home, but produced a tremendous display to beat Chobham 17-14 and finally earn themselves a chance in the National League.
Connors added: “The season is almost upon us and we have been back at the club since the start of July doing some training.
“That has gone pretty well and we have had a couple of friendlies against Chelmsford and Brighton, but we are just looking forward to the start of the campaign.
“Excitement is definitely building. That is why we worked so hard over the last three years to give ourselves an opportunity of making the National League.
“Things are looking pretty good for us. In an ideal world we would like everyone fit and firing, but that never happens. But we are definitely up for the match.”
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