Aretians look to the future with a new coaching team in place
ARETIANS hope the addition of Bristol players George Watkins and Ben Glynn to their coaching staff will boost the long-term ambitions of the Gloucester Two club.
The duo, who will work alongside director of rugby Mike Allen and head coach Kim Hazeldine, attended their first practice session this week at Little Stoke.
And they've agreed to bring along their experience of the professional game for the next 18 months as Aretians bid to increase their playing numbers and attempt to move up through the league structure.
Allen said: "We're hoping that having George and Ben here will help bring a few lads out of the woodwork and back to training.
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"There were a few along this week we've not seen for a while so that's very encouraging.
"It's not a quick fix ... we've got long-term plans here for the club, and a key part of that is keeping people involved. We've got a settled first-team squad and a hardcore of lads who play for the seconds, while we're very keen to get the thirds up and running again regularly."
Competition to attract rugby players in this area of Bristol is extremely fierce hence the hope that the chance of high-quality coaching will give Aretians an edge on their local rivals.
The club also have high expectations of promising under-14 and under-15 squads which will soon provide an injection of new blood into the senior section.
Hazeldine, a tremendous club servant who made more than 850 appearances for Aretians in a 33-year playing career, added: "Our target is to finish mid-table, have a strong pre-season and then push on next season. We're also looking at hosting a touch league here during the summer."
Aretians, who pushed high-flying Ashley Down hard last week, are tomorrow away to leaders Bream.
In National Two South, Clifton will be bidding to end a run of five successive defeats when second-placed Henley visit Station Road (2.30pm).
Dings Crusaders, who have moved up to ninth, will be aiming to make it four in a row when they visit Launceston who were 30-19 victors when these sides met earlier in the campaign.
Ross Bennett returns on the wing for National Three South West high-flyers Weston-super-Mare, who are home to lowly Malvern, while Avonmouth bid to bounce back from last week's heavy home reverse with another home date, this time against Barnstaple (2.30pm) with Harry Hone and Ayden Sloman set to return up front.
There are two Combination derbies in South West One West. Second-placed Old Reds entertain Cleve while Thornbury host Clevedon. Both kick off at 2.30pm.
Leaders Hornets return to Western Counties North action with a testing trip to Matson, while new recruit Dean Payne, from Imperial, is set to feature for second-placed Barton Hill, who are home to Berry Hill.
Bristol Harlequins, who are away to Chosen Hill, make two changes to the side that beat Avon. Kane Burchill replaces the injured Chase Court on the wing, and Aaron Baker starts at hooker.