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Diss Rugby Club captain targets further improvement next season

Captain John Bergin was pleased with how Diss fared during their curtailed 2019/20 campaign back in London 2 North East – and he is seeking further improvement next term.

The Blues – relegated the season before with just one victory to their name – finished fifth after the Rugby Football Union applied a points-per-game method to end proceedings as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Overall we are happy with fifth,” said Bergin. “We did not set the world alight, but then we did not expect to do that.

Rugby action from Diss v Holt - John Bergin..Mark Bullimore Photography 2019. (34041438)
Rugby action from Diss v Holt - John Bergin..Mark Bullimore Photography 2019. (34041438)

“This year was all about us learning. We had a new head coach and a new way of playing – it was a brand new slate.

“We want to win every game of course, but we cannot be too disappointed with the season when you factor in all of those changes.”

It remains uncertain if 2020/21 will be able to get under way as planned in September, such is the lack of clarity surrounding the current situation.

However, as and when Diss are able to get back on the pitch, Bergin is keen for the side to show what lessons they have learnt in recent months.

“So far 2020 has not been great for us. We had a few games called off because of the weather before the season was abandoned, so we did not really get into the swing of things,” he added.

“It hit us hard when the league was cancelled because we had a good run of games in front of us.

“I think the lads will be ready to go hell for leather when we can play again. Everyone is itching to get back out there.

“We should be trying to get into the top three next year, and we can achieve that if we learn from our mistakes this season.”

Bergin expects the majority of the squad to remain at Mackenders, with the club also receiving interest from potential new signings.

“Some players like what is going on at Diss,” said the skipper.

“People have made contact with the club about coming over, so we will need to follow that up.

“It is not us approaching players – we don’t do that because it has happened to us a lot in recent years.

“But if someone is keen to join us then happy days.”

On a personal level, Bergin is continuing to make good progress in his recovery from a neck injury he suffered during January’s derby clash with Wymondham.

“It is coming along nicely now,” he said.

“The break has done me the world of good. It has allowed me to rest properly and make some decent recovery.

“It was quite a nasty injury at the time. I was at full stretch, got pulled down and ended up landing on my neck.

“I was fortunate not to break my neck, it was severe whiplash instead.

“I am not 100 per cent right at the moment – probably around 80. Hopefully in another couple of weeks I will be there.”

In the meantime, Bergin and his Diss team-mates have been keeping themselves active with a series of WhatsApp challenges.

“We have been having a bit of fun,” said the captain. “The boys have been videoing fitness challenges and then tagging someone else in to do their own challenge as well as donating £10 to charity. Some of the lads have had to get inventive, which has been funny.”

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