Dawson looks to ease the pressure on Raiders

Jack Maslen touched down one try on his return from a hamstring injury in Raiders' win at Clifton on Saturday
Jack Maslen touched down one try on his return from a hamstring injury in Raiders' win at Clifton on Saturday

WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club head coach Kieron Dawson was looking to ease the pressure on his team with fun sessions at training this week.

Leaders Raiders’ 38-21 win at Clifton on Saturday kept them in pole position in National 2 South, with three games remaining.

Worthing lead Henley, who have a game in hand, by seven points and Henley have to play third-placed Hartpury College on Saturday, while Raiders entertain fifth-from-bottom Taunton Titans (3pm).

Dawson said: “As the guys can see the prize and the closer and closer we’re getting, everyone’s getting a little bit nervous.

“We need to relax everyone a little bit, so we’ll have a bit of fun at training this week to release the pressure.

“We’ll try to get back to the way we were playing at the beginning of the year, with a smile on our faces.”

Dawson also knows the importance of the Hartpury versus Henley game and said: “It’s a pretty pivotal game and, once we’ve got our job done on Saturday, we’ll have one eye on it.

“It would be great if Hartpury can do us a favour and restrict Henley from taking any bonus points but a win for Hartpury would also put them right back in it.”

Raiders have a 100 per cent home record heading into their last home match of the season on Saturday and Dawson said: “It will be a chance for us to say thank you for the support this season and, hopefully, we can go out and give them a good home victory.”

Raiders hope winger Alex Nielsen, who missed Saturday’s game through illness, will be back available for the game.

London Irish Academy players Ludi Hopkinson and Luke Peters return after missing the Clifton game, while Jordan Burns, who made his England under-19s debut last week and touched down a try in the 16-15 win over Ireland, is also available for Raiders again.

Jack Maslen lasted 50 minutes on his comeback from a hamstring injury at Clifton, so Worthing may not risk him on Saturday.

And captain Matt Miles also suffered a dead leg late in the game on Saturday, so is a doubt for this weekend.