Scarborough RUFC are putting in the hard yards ahead of a new campaign under new management.
Despite new coach Simon Smith still being in the USA, the players are back in pre-season training under the watchful eyes Tom Harrison, Phil Watson, Dave White and ex -Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks prop Darren Fearn.
The club’s newly-appointed assistant director of rugby Phil Stewart has been impressed with how pre-season has unfolded to date.
Stewart said: “The lads have been back in training since the start of June.
“We’ve been predominantly doing fitness work mixed in with touch rugby with strength and conditioning coach Dave White up to last week at which point we started doing more game based play.
“Until Simon gets back, Darren Fearn is taking Tuesday sessions working on ruck and contact skills and Phil Watson and Tom Harrison are doing Thursdays, which are based around patterns of play and how Simon wants us to play this year.
“Simon will be back at the start of August. He’s been very hands-on despite being in America and has regularly been contacting the guys here who are running the sessions.
“He’s been planning them with their help and we’re filming some sessions so he can get an idea of what’s going on.
“We’re just doing everything we can to make sure the lads are as close to where they need to be as possible when he gets back.”
Stewart is confident the club have the right coaching team in place to get the most out of their squad heading into the 2017/18 season.
“I’m confident we’re putting the right people in place in order to be successful this season,” Stewart added.
“We’ve got a squad that’s full of quality and we’ve tried to concentrate on our fitness as this was a weak point in previous years.
“We want to challenge for promotion, but being able to requires the players and coaches to perform and the squad to give everything in every training session and game.
“Yorkshire One is a tough league so we’ll have to be at our best to get out of it.”
Stewart is delighted with the addition of former Newcastle Falcons man Fearm to their pre-season coaching team.
He said: “With regards to Darren, it’s been great to have him back at the club and working with the lads.
“He brings a huge amount of playing and coaching experience at Premiership level and it’s really positive to see how the players respond to that.”
Scarborough only have a few weeks of training left before their first competitive action of pre-season.
The first pre-season game is against Driffield on August 12, and Scarborough are also putting out a second and third combined 15 that weekend to take on Garforth.
Utility back Tom Harrison, who has also been helping out in the absence of Smith, has been left enthused by the club’s pre-season to date, with several of Smith’s coaching team stepping up to the mark in his absence.
Harrison said: “As far as pre-season goes it’s good having a few diffferent voices leading sessions as it keeps things fresh.
“We’ve got an exciting mix of old and young players and some very good prospects coming from the Colts team and all of these guys have been looking good in training.
“We have been starting to implement some of team plans and structures and this will take more of our focus over the next few weeks.”
Harrison adds that new coach Smith, who is scheduled to return to oversee the final stages of the Silver Royd club’s pre-season at the end of next month, has left his players in no uncertain terms as to what he expects from them heading into the 2017/18 Yorkshire One campaign.
“As for season’s expectations, Simon is very clear in what he expects and we as a group need to improve in certain areas if we want to make that happen.
“We’ve got some guys around the team who have been there a fair few years now and some young guys who have only just started out on their senior rugby path, what’s good is the competition for places and with a few boys moving on from last year it is going to give everyone an opportunity to push for a shirt.”
Following the opening friendly clash against Driffield on August 12, Scarborough will field a number of teams against a touring team, coached by former Silver Royd favourite Jason Lowde, on August 19.