WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club head coach Kieron Dawson has not shied away from the importance of Saturday’s crunch game at Cinderford.
Raiders are in a relegation dogfight to preserve their status in National 1 and the former Ireland international believes that Saturday’s vital 34-17 win over basement side Hull Ionians was just the semi-final.
Raiders go into this week’s clash one spot and six points above the relegation places – although the fact Cinderford occupy that third-from-bottom place and have three games in hand, makes this weekend the biggest game of Raiders’ season so far.
Dawson said: “It’s make or break and it’s simply a game we must win and all the lads know how important it is.
“Hopefully, Saturday will give some confidence to the lads to take into this week. It is another big one, we billed Saturday as a semi-final, then this is the final.
“Cinderford have strengthened their squad and it’s away from home. It’s going to be a tough test for us, but the main thing is probably confidence going into it.”
The side will be training hard this week after Dawson admitted that Saturday’s match video did not make comfortable viewing at times.
He said: “I watched the video back and came back down to earth with a bit of a bang. At times, we were brilliant, but at times we were sloppy and poor and it could have ended up costing us, but the upside of that is we still have ten or 20 per cent of the squad to come back in.”
Raiders have been boosted by the news that James Chisholm will not be involved with England under-20s.
Rob Smith is also back in contention after playing 40 minutes for Raiders A at the weekend, while Worthing are waiting to hear from London Irish if Richard Palframan will be released to play after he was knocked unconscious in training last week.
Dawson said: “James came back on Saturday and I thought he was outstanding and you can see why he is such a hot prospect in English rugby. The good news is the England under-20s are rotating their squad, so James is available again, so it’s a good chance for us and for him to play again.”