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Rugby Union: Old Cooperians ready for another tough test in London Three North East against Epping Upper Clapton

PUBLISHED: 13:00 24 March 2017

Old Cooperians huddle before play (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Old Cooperians huddle before play (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Coops and Epping were title rivals in London Three North East last year

Old Cooperians come up against familiar foes when they play host to Epping Upper Clapton in London Two North East tomorrow (Saturday).

The two sides were title rivals in London Three North East last term, with Coops ultimately prevailing in a close-fought battle.

Both sides already look certain to remain in Two North East next season, with just three games remaining this year.

And with Coops leading Epping by just three points ahead of this weekend’s clash, backs coach Craig Ratford wants to increase the gap between the teams.

“Epping are not a bad team and when you look at the table and who they have taken points off of this season, you’ve seen they can be competitive.

“When we played them earlier in the season, both teams had opportunities to win late on (the game ended in an 11-11 draw).

“Because we went for the London Three North East title with them last season, there is a little bit of a rivalry and it should be a good game.

A victory on Saturday could also see Coops go above Romford in the table, providing their Havering rivals slip up at home to South Woodham Ferrers.

Despite losing the Havering derby last month, Coops are just two points behind Romford in the battle to be the borough’s top club.

And Ratford knows that overhauling Romford is still within Coops’ reach, but knows it is not the end of the world if their long-term goal of becoming the number one side in Havering is not achieve this year.

“Romford were quite far ahead of us just a few years ago, but we have to aim big and if we fall short, it’s not terrible,” he added.

“We have three good games left to come in the season, and that will put pressure on Romford to pick up results too.”

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