London Scottish forwards and defence coach James Buckland says it’s ‘business as usual’ despite the news Director of Rugby Simon Amor will be leaving the Club to become England Sevens head coach.
Buckland feels the players have reacted positively to the announcement, made on Wednesday, and are fully focussed on Saturday’s Greene King IPA Championship opener against Ealing Trailfinders at Allianz Park.
Former London Wasps hooker Buckland said: “For Simon it’s a fantastic appointment. I know it’s a job he is very excited about. It had to be a good appointment to get him out of London Scottish because he has put his heart and soul into this place for a number of years.
“The boys have reacted very positively to the news and it is business as usual which is testament to the systems and processes already put in place by Simon.
“Tuesday was a fantastic session and the boys trained well this morning (Thursday) before going to Allianz Park. We are all looking forward to Saturday.”
After a gruelling 15 week pre-season training block, scrupulously overseen by head of strength and conditioning Tim Harper, the squad are now desperate to get things under way this weekend when Scottish take to Allianz Park at 1pm as part of 1 Big Rugby Weekend which features a triple bill of double header fixtures played at three neutral venues.
Buckland admits selection for the season opener was tough but is confident those selected to take on Championship newcomers Ealing will be ready.
He said: “We have got a squad of 30 guys who all want to go out and play this weekend but unfortunately only 15 guys can take to the field.
“The two international boys Tyler (Hotson) and Eric (Fry) went away for a couple of weeks on World Cup duty and have had to settle for a place on the bench because the guys that played during the pre-season games have worked really hard and deserve an opportunity going into the first game.
“The guys that are not playing are disappointed and so they should be, they have worked really hard for 15 weeks.”
Buckland admits nerves will be there for both sets of players on Saturday and expects Ealing to be fired up.
He continued: “The first game is going to be a shock to the system because it's now Championship intensity and there are league points on offer. There's going to be nerves and Ealing will be a very tough test. They are a very exciting team coming out of National One having played some really good rugby last year. It will be fun and a good test for both teams on Saturday. Tim (Harper) has made sure this week has been about being in prime shape come Saturday. The guys feel fresh, fit and able, and as coaches we are excited to see what we can do as a team.”
Saturday's match kicks-off at 1pm.
London Scottish team v Ealing Trailfinders: 1, Nick Mayhew, 2, Ted Stagg, 3, Lewis Thiede, 4, Alex Karonias, 5, David Lyons, 6, Chevvy Pennycook, 7, Neil Best, 8, Mark Bright (c), 9, Jamie Stevenson, 10, Dan Newton, 11, Miles Mantella, 12, Andy Reay, 13, Oli Grove, 14, Mike Doneghan, 15, Jim Thompson.
16, Harry Allen, 17,Mark Irish, 18, Eric Fry, 19, Joe Trayfoot, 20, Jordi Pasqualin, 21, James Love, 22, PJ Gidlow.
– Tickets can be purchased on the day at the Allianz Park ticket office which is next to gate B, or by calling London Scottish on 0208 940 7156 up until 5pm this evening, then collected at the Allianz Park ticket office
– Entry to the ground will be via gates A and C
– There will be a number of food and drink outlets open on the day in the concourse under the East Stand
– Parking will be available on the day at a cost of £10 per car
– Programmes will be sold through the ticket office
– All seating is in the East stand which is the newer stand