Head coach Tony Yapp insists his Taunton Titans side hold no fear ahead of their visit to high-flyers Canterbury on Saturday, especially with their eyes on their own top-half finish.
Currently sitting seventh in National Two South, the team has been enjoying a solid season so far.
With two wins out of three from the new year, including last weekend’s 16-5 victory over Redruth, the Titans are just five points off the top four.
Next up is the visit to second-placed Canterbury, although the Titans have already beaten them once this season, having triumphed 38-24 at home.
Putting the pressure back on their higher-placed opponents, Yapp believes the only expectations on themselves are those set by the team internally.
“Canterbury have been on a good run,” said Yapp.
“From our point of view we go up there as underdogs – there is not a great deal of pressure on us
“We beat them at home last time. We were quite poor in the first half but we came out and played better after the break and managed to reel them back in.
“But the guys are working really hard at the minute and we are pleased with how things are.
“The aim was to stay in the league last season and then going into this year it was to try and finish in the top half.
“The way things have gone recently and the way we have been playing, it is looking like being achievable.”
Part of the secret in the Titans’ strong season so far has been a careful blend of both experience and youth.
Lock Marshall Cormack, who was serving with the Navy in Afghanistan at the start of the season, and players such as Gary Kingdom and recently signed Charlie Walker-Blair, all have plenty of years of playing experience.
Emerging stars such as Nicolas Mason, try scorer against Redruth last week, have all stood up this season, leaving Yapp pleased with the shape of the team.
“It was only Mason’s fourth game for us last week – he has come up out of the Colts, played for the seconds and we have identified him as one of the future at Taunton,” said Yapp.
“We have a lot of 19, 20, 21-year-olds in the squad which bodes well for the future.
“It’s a blend of older heads with the likes of Gary Kingdom and Marshall Cormack and younger players but it helps give the younger ones a lot of confidence.”
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