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Sudbury head coach Neil Dachtler reveals players to return to pre-season training this month after RFU reveal October start possible for London 1 North




Pre-season training for Sudbury Rugby Club’s senior players will get under way on Tuesday, July 28, following the RFU’s announcement of a provisional October 10 starting date for London League 1 North – five weeks later than normal, writes Ken Watkins.

Although the RFU has also put forward two later starting dates, dependent on the coronavirus epidemic, head coach Neil Dachtler is starting training later this month.

“We are hopeful, and we’ve got to be prepared for it (October),” he said. “I want to get the boys back together, get the team vibe going again. We’ve been in touch with them throughout the close season, but it’s not the same as face to face.”

Sudbury Rugby Club players in pre-season trainingDon Reekie (Sudbury Rugby Club) (38386051)
Sudbury Rugby Club players in pre-season trainingDon Reekie (Sudbury Rugby Club) (38386051)

The October date is the RFU’s best case scenario for teams at level 6 in the RFU pyramid. If the season starts then, the 14-team league will be divided into two geographical conferences, based on travelling distance.

Sudbury would play the six other teams in their group home and away in the first half of the season, and then play the teams in the other group home and away.

Dachtler and his fellow coaches will be contacting the players individually, and training will be twice a week – Tuesday and Thursday – initially, with the first sessions being taken by the strength and conditioning coaches, following government and RFU guidelines.

Head coach Neil Dachtler (back right) puts his Sudbury players through their paces in pre-season trainingDon Reekie (Sudbury Rugby Club) (38386013)
Head coach Neil Dachtler (back right) puts his Sudbury players through their paces in pre-season trainingDon Reekie (Sudbury Rugby Club) (38386013)

“We will invite everyone to come along, no matter what level they want to play or train at, and we will adjust accordingly,” said Dachtler. “We’ve been talking to a couple of other players who will be coming to us, so we want to get to meet them. Now we know how we can do it, we want to get on with it.”

Sudbury will now step up their search for a backs coach. Player Nick Robinson, involved with the second team last season, will be helping with first team backs coaching.

The RFU’s two other dates for resumption are November 28 and, worst case scenario, February 6. Starting on either of those dates would mean a reduced fixture list.

The November 28 start would involve two groups, Sudbury playing teams in the same group home and away, and then just home or away matches against teams in the other group.

If the restart was delayed to the February date, then Sudbury would play group only fixtures.

The RFU is expected to publish provisional fixtures this week for an October start, with the season running to May 2021.

But former Sudbury coach Ben Scully will not be in charge of rivals Colchester in this year’s derby dates after confirming to the Free Press he was let go from the club.

* Sudbury Sapphires, the girls’ under-18 squad, have started summer training. The club’s girls section is looking for more players, in school years 7-13. For more information, contact Mark Rogers, mark.rogers33@btinternet.com