Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club goes into the new season with a stronger squad than last time around.
That’s the view of head coach Kevin Smith as H&B prepare for their Kent One opener away to Old Gravesendians on Saturday.
Smith said: “I think it’s better, not just in numbers because now we’ve got a squad of 28, 30 at a push that could play first team rugby, but we’ve also got the infrastructure a little bit better now in the twos.
“It’s probably the best pre-season we’ve had since I’ve been there; we just look a little bit sharper. I think this season’s going to be a good one.”
H&B, who won a warm-up game away to current Sussex One champions Burgess Hill a fortnight ago, finished third last term and they have a good record against Saturday’s opponents, who came sixth in the 2012/13 campaign.
“We’ve not lost to them at their place, but it’s always nervous first game of the season,” continued Smith, who is about to start his third season at the helm. “We’re not afraid to go there and play, and we’ve done that before.
“Discipline this year is absolutely right up there. Not only do we want to win our games, we want to make sure everybody stays on the pitch.
“Winning the league is always the aim. At the beginning of the season everybody’s unknown, but you do have a fair idea by Christmas. Every game is going to be a challenge and every away defeat is a nail in the coffin of going up. Every coach knows the away form is crucial.
“We’re working on some key areas this year. We’ve changed a few people’s positions and they’ve taken to it like a duck to water. We’ve got some colts coming through and they’re going to play a major part in the season if we use them wisely.”