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Diss Rugby Club ready for first competitive action in 18 months due to Covid-19 break

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For the first time since March 7 of last year, Diss Rugby Club will be in competitive action tomorrow.

Rugby at a grassroots level has been one of the hardest hit sports by the Covid-19 pandemic, with no league action having been possible in the last 18 months.

However, the wait will come to an end on Saturday when the Blues make the trip into Essex to take on Chelmsford in a London 2 North East season opener (3pm).

Diss will take on Chelmsford at the weekend. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Diss will take on Chelmsford at the weekend. Picture: Mark Bullimore

Head coach Nick Greenhall said: “We’re all really happy to be back out on the field with competitive rugby to look forward to.

“There has been a couple of festivals recently, which have been great, but nothing beats playing in the league.

“We’ve still been able to train at times and so we’ve kept socially active, but you need that competitiveness.

“All of the players are competitive and they take great pride in what they do.

“They’ve stayed fit and healthy and the club overall is in a really good place considering what has happened over the last 18 months.”

In terms of hopes for the season ahead, Greenhall will not look to make any predictions until a few weeks have passed.

And with that in mind, he believes a good start could well be key to enjoying a positive campaign.

“You’ve got to try to start well,” he added. “It’s difficult to predict what will happen because you’re not sure where other teams have come out of the Covid situation.

“We know where we’re at and where we’re strong, but other than that it’s a bit unknown.

“You can’t judge anything really until five or so games have played, so if we can pick up a few wins at the start, then hopefully it will set things up.

“We’ve got the training right and there is a real rapport among the group. If you have that, the match stuff tends to look after itself.”

A handful of new faces are set to be included in the squad, including the likes of Gus Bentley, Les Maguire and Conor Phillips, while Will Owen is hoping to feature when he can despite having moved to London.

Experienced players John Laurie and Peter Bray are also looking to be involved on more of a regular basis, with John Bergin continuing his captaincy.

After facing Chelmsford, Diss will head to Stowmarket the following weekend before they play in front a Mackenders crowd for the first time on October 2 against South Woodham Ferrers.

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