Old Cooperians head into new season following ‘substantial’ changes

PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 September 2019

Old Cooperians RFC (blue) take on Ilford Wanderers. George Phillipou/TGS Photo

Old Cooperians RFC (blue) take on Ilford Wanderers. George Phillipou/TGS Photo

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Old Cooperians head into the new season having made “substantial” changes to their squad and coaching set-up.

Darryl Ox and Ian Roper have been appointed as coaches to work under director of rugby Andy Yarrow, with several additions to the playing squad.

Cooperians came seventh in London Three Essex last season, pipping close rivals Campion. But after a summer of change, Yarrow is confident of an improved finish in their upcoming campaign.

"We have some new faces in and some old faces have returned," he said.

"There is a really good, positive vibe. We had a seventh place finish last season and hopefully we can aim towards the top four.

"Pre-season started in June. We sat down with the players to let them have a say and set realistic expectations - one thing that came out was improving consistency.

"We have changed quite substantially. We probably have about seven or eight new faces of first-team standard.

"There is a really good mix of new faces and ones that have been here before."

Cooperians start on September 14 at Ilford Wanderers before returning home to host Braintree.

As well as changes off the pitch, Yarrow has also tried to improve things on the pitch in an effort to achieve a top-four finish, adding: "We were a bit weak up front. In the cold, wet months we were getting beaten up a bit in the forwards. We have a signed a few players there.

"We want to play more expansively - we've been looking at our structure of how we want to play the game. We're working very hard.

"Our home form wasn't too bad last year, but we weren't as good away from home.

"Another thing we want to do is launch the second team, that is quite important to us. We want to include the mini and youth teams more."

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