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Archer believes changes are key for unbeaten Blues

Newbury extended their 100 per cent start to the season with a win over Witney last week

Liam Headd

Liam Headd


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Archer believes changes are key for unbeaten Blues

NEWBURY Blues head coach Paul Archer says that having a large squad will be crucial in their promotion push.

Blues made it nine wins from nine on Saturday as they beat Witney 53-10 away to continue their 100-per-cent start to the season.

As well as securing yet another victory, Newbury secured a ninth consecutive try bonus point to extend their lead at the top of South West 1 East to seven points.

“The story of the game is interesting because we were 10-0 up at half-time and Witney were very much in the game at that point,” admitted Archer

“We had to work very hard in the first half because we weren’t as accurate as we usually are, but credit has to be given to them because of the way they defended.”

With Blues narrowly ahead at the interval, Archer reassured his squad that they were capable of scoring more points.

He said: “The guys were pretty self-critical at half-time – they knew we weren’t at the level we wanted to be at.

“It was important to keep the energy high at that point and to score straight from kick-off was a great response.

“We didn’t change the way we played, we just sharpened up before going on to win the game”

Archer made a number of changes to the squad that beat Marlborough the previous week, something he feels has to be done to continue their superb form.

He said: “The great thing was that we could make five or six changes and, although it took us a while to gel, we needed to make them to sustain a strong squad going forward.

Blues now have a week off before making the trip to Gloucester to face Old Centralians and, with players returning from injury, there is likely to be even more competition for a place in the squad.

Archer said: “It’s essential that we have guys coming through the system so we don’t lose quality as and when we need to make changes.”

The Blues head coach was also pleased he could hand Chris Atkinson his debut as he came on in the final 15 minutes.

“I need 45 players capable of playing first-team rugby at level six and level five, so that if we are successful in getting promoted, we’re not there just to make up numbers,” said Archer.

After the visit to Old Centralians – a side who beat Marlborough last weekend – Blues are back at Monks Lane, when they welcome Oxford Harlequins on November 24.

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