Roger Coombs has branded claims by Sudbury RFC head coach Graham Richards his Diss side are too old to play a level higher as ‘sad and totally out of order’.
Following the sides’ clash earlier this month, in which Diss came from behind to seal a 22-13 victory and climb above their promotion rivals into second place, Richards told the Express: “If they do not put some youth into that team, going up is a waste of time.
“They have too many old guys, who are doing very well at the moment.”
That has left Coombs, who has since seen his side drop back below Sudbury - who beat leaders Saffron Walden - in the London Two North East table following a 15-10 defeat at Norwich on Saturday, with a bitter taste.
“It has angered a lot of people at the club and from my point of view I think it was totally out of order,” he said.
“We had an average age of around 26 on the day and had two 18 year-olds playing (replacements) so what he is saying is not only out of order but also completely wrong.
“I take those comments with a pinch of salt in all honesty because we beat them and they failed to get a bonus losing point. It just seems like sour grapes and is a bit sad, if you ask me.”
On Saturday’s setback, which left Diss in third on 62 points, one adrift of Sudbury in the only play-off spot and nine behind leaders Saffron Walden, the director of rugby added: “We had a good first half but just didn’t turn up after the break, which was disappointing.
“However, I can’t be too critical of my side because looking around I had a host of my best players on the sidelines suffering from injury.
“There is still a long way to go and we still have a chance of gaining promotion this season.”
Attention turns away from their promotion quest this weekend though as Diss prepare to host current London Two North West leaders Fullerians at the Mackenders in the regional semi-finals of the RFU Intermediate Cup tomorrow (3pm).
The Norfolk-based outfit fought off a spirited display from Essex-side Woodford in the previous round to secure a 12-11 success. And although Coombs conceded the league remains his side’s priority, he admitted that the club will be gunning for glory.
“Now we are at the semi-final stage we are in it to win it,” he said.
“Maybe a rest week would be better for us for the league but it would be great to win something this season and we have a chance.
“It is a chance for us to bounce back and in my opinion winning always breeds confidence, so we’re looking for a victory.”