Rugby Union: Old Cooperians coach Craig Ratford believes Woodford will be a tougher proposition in London Two North East

PUBLISHED: 11:00 16 December 2016

Old Cooperians celebrate a try (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Old Cooperians celebrate a try (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Coops romped to a 40-0 success over Woodford in September

Old Cooperians scrum-half Craig Ratford expects a much stiffer test from Woodford tomorrow (Saturday) than when the sides met in London Two North East in September.

In their second match of the season, Coops cruised to a 40-0 win at home to Woodford, but they expect a tougher trip to Highams this weekend.

And Ratford believes Woodford will be a different proposition compared to that day three months ago, not least because they know what to expect.

“We’re playing away this weekend and they know what is coming this time around, so it will be a totally different game,” said Ratford.

“I’m sure Woodford will have spoken to other clubs about what to expect when they play us, so that will make it tough.

“It is a chance for us to set it right this weekend after a couple of tough weeks and also a chance for us to end what has been a great year on a high.

“We were in Essex One just a few years ago, so for a club like us to be in the top four of London Two North East is brilliant.”

Coops will also hope winger Kolade Awobowale continues his brilliant return to action with more tries after scoring a brace in his first match for six weeks against South Woodham Ferrers last weekend.

Sadly, that game ended in a 46-17 loss for Coops, but Ratford had praise for the backline for their efforts in setting up the tries for Awobowale.

“It’s not just Kolade who has been impressive, but all of the back three have been strong for us,” he added. “Kolade has been helped by those around him working hard to create the chances for him, and he’s in the right place at the right time.”

Cooperians must do without skipper Harry Fayers for the weekend, though, with the lock set to be in Australia until mid-January.

However, Ratford is confident there are no than enough leaders left in Coops’ squad to cope with the absence of their regular captain.

“Harry is an important player for us, but myself and Pat Reed wouldn’t be doing our job as coaches if we didn’t have four or five players to pick from for the captaincy,” he said.

“We don’t want just one focal point so that it all falls apart when he doesn’t play and we have a good group of lads at the club.”

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