‘It’s time we were the bride’

Adam Ervine in action as Bann prepared for the new season. INBL1534-272PB
Adam Ervine in action as Bann prepared for the new season. INBL1534-272PB
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Banbridge Rugby Club are desperate to get their big day this season.

Head Coach Daniel Soper says his lads are fed up being the bridesmaids - it’s time they got a wedding of their own.

The All-Ireland League kicks off on Saturday as Bann travel to take on recently relegated Malone (kick
-off 2.30pm).

It’s the start of a season in which Soper is targetting the top.

“We’ve been around third or fourth for a few years now. They’re the bridesmaid spots really,” he said.

“It’s good to be up as high as possible but this squad have been together for a few years. We know how we want to play, we know our strengths and weaknesses and this is the year we want to have a real crack at getting into the top two.”

Soper, however, is keen to break up that goal into bite-size chunks. After all, it takes a while to plan a wedding.

“What we have learnt is that it’s a long season and getting promotion would be a long way away,” he said.

“That’s why we’re concentrating on short-term goals. For now, we’re focuesed on our first four games and if we get off to a good start, we will sit down at Christmas and see if we are in with a chance of getting promoted.”

Coming down from Division 1B, Malone will be keen for a quick return but Soper is confident his side can earn a confidence-boosting victory on Saturday afternoon.

“Over the summer, they changed their coaches and a lot of their contracted players joined Division One clubs,” he said.

“That makes them a bit of an unknown quantity but then we have always found them difficult to play against, even without their contracted players.

“If we can play to our ability, we have enough to win 
the game.”

Bann will be without captain Jonny Graham as well as Alan Conn and Niko Vorster while both John Porter and Peter Cromie are doubtful for the opener. Ryan Patterson will return to the squad.

SEE PAGE 35 FOR MORE BUILD-UP TO BANN’S SEASON