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Newbury Blues head coach Paul Archer believes success will be more than just winning games this season

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Newbury Blues head coach Paul Archer has outlined the importance of playing rugby as the squad prepare for their first competitive fixture in 18 months.

Blues haven’t played a league match since March 7, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic and they return to action this weekend with a trip to Grove in the South West 1 East division.

Although the men’s senior team, plus the Stags, A’s and Colts all have different aims for the season, Archer is hoping for a full campaign.

Newbury Blues' Dan Thorne will be in action this year
Newbury Blues' Dan Thorne will be in action this year

“What the last 18 months has brought home to me is that the pressure of results in not as important as the love of playing.

“If Newbury can put out three senior teams and the colts for the next season, then I will class that as success.

“Obviously we want to do well in the leagues, we want promotion for the Blues and Stags and fulfil our A’s calendar.

“My number one priority is getting players back onto the pitch again as well as bringing the younger talent through so we’re in a sustainable position as a club.”

Blues have been training in some capacity, under restrictions, since April and Archer has explained how good it will feel to see everyone back out on the playing field.

“It has been 18 months or so since our last competitive fixture, but we have had a decent run of pre-season and we’re looking forward to being out on the pitch in a competitive league.

“We had a good hit-out between ourselves recently and we had about 40 boys all putting their hand up for selection and showing us what they’ve got.”

The new season for Blues begins on Saturday
The new season for Blues begins on Saturday

Blues are heading into the South West 1 East division and Archer believes it’s going into the unknown a little bit.

“Even when the league was more week-in, week-out, teams can be unpredictable depending on who is available.

“Every week is going to provide a new challenge for us, whether that is because the opposition is playing differently to how we expect or whether it’s because we’re playing well or not so well and have to adapt to different situations.”

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