The University of Gloucestershire Rugby League side are hoping to turn their Plock Court home into a fortress in order to put together a push for the title and after winning their first two games of the season.
Last month we told you that UoG had added some international firepower to their arsenal ahead of the new season and they have got off to the perfect start – with big wins against Exeter and Nottingham Trent to kick off the campaign.
On Wednesday afternoon the UoG welcome St Mary’s University to Plock Court as they look to make it three wins from three. Ahead of the game we spoke to First Team Head Coach Mitchell Stone and Vice-captain of the First Team Alex Chapman about the season so far and what to expect on Wednesday.
“It’s a great way to start the season,” Stone told us. “We know that the feeling of winning can drive a team into keeping that same buzz going and it is still as important as losing.
The feeling of not being able to celebrate with your fellow brothers and the feeling of disappointment can drive a team in a similar way, but as a coach it is important to not let the satisfaction of winning consume you, it is just as important to know how it feels to lose – so we need to not let ourselves get carried away.”
“In terms of performance I think we have been improving week by week. There are some players that are not as experienced as some but that just comes with game time and making sure that they understand their own role. I think there’s still a lot to come from players, this is only just the beginning of their own development as individuals and as a team.”
“It’s a great feeling to be undefeated after the first two games. The games haven’t been easy but we weren’t expecting them to be. We stuck to the game plan in both games and all of our hard work in pre season has paid of for us so far,” Chapman added.
In the first two fixtures of the season UoG have swept away last season’s champions Exeter 50-8 at Plock Court, before battling hard to a 12-20 win away in Nottingham and will be going into Wednesday’s fixture after beating St Mary’s 16-14 in the fixture last season and Stone admits that his side are in for a challenge on Wednesday.
“My expectations for Exeter were open. Considering the results they got last year I guess you could say it looked like it was going to be a difficult game. But with every game you should go in with a game plan and use your experience and the reason why you are there as a coach.
You should go into the game with and open mind but draw upon the experiences from the past. From previous games, Mary’s will be well drilled and have a good skill level; which will always be challenging to play against.
I have high expectations that Wednesday’s game will be filled with nail-biting moments for both sides but only time will tell who will come out victorious when the final whistle blows.” Stone said.
Both Chapman and Stone have told Severn Sport that the feel good factor is currently with the UoG side and have highlighted the importance of turning Plock Court into a fortress ahead of this week’s game.
“For us as players and for everyone at the club, Plock Court is an important place for us. If we make it a fortress and can make it a tough place to go to then we are confident that the league title will follow,” Chapman told us.
“In my eyes home games are particularly important, they are always the most action packed and adrenaline filled games you could play.
Being on your home soil, with friends and family members watching you, defending it like a “fortress” really brings out the best in teams. Making Plock Court indestructible will most certainly keep hopes high and make other teams worried about playing us both home and away,” said Stone.
University of Gloucestershire Rugby League welcome St Mary’s University to Plock Court on Wednesday 23rd October; kick off 16:00