Bristol Sonics have stepped up their preparations for the 2015 Conference League South season by appointing a new coaching team.


Former skipper Dom Swann, who stood down as captain last autumn, will work alongside former Hull KR Academy player and Sonics veteran Wes Rodgers, and experienced player/coach Lawrence Rycroft.


The trio, who has over 40 years of playing and coaching experience between them, has vowed to improve the first team’s fortunes following a difficult 2014 season.


They’ll get a first chance to work with the Sonics’ squad on Monday, February 16th, when pre-season training commences at Dings Crusaders’ Landseer Avenue ground in Lockleaze (6.45pm meet for a 7pm start).


Dom Swann said: “Jason Talbot did a terrific job in difficult circumstances last year, and helped bring through a group of young players. We think he’s laid the foundations for a great 2015 season, though we’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of us. Conference League South will be stronger this year than ever before, so we’ll have to be at the top of our game to move up the table and compete for honours.”


Lawrence Rycroft, who joined the Sonics in 2013 and, like Swann, will combine playing and coaching, said: “We’ve identified areas to work on, and put together a plan that will give us the best chance of competing strongly in 2015. We think there’s the makings of a great side, based on the players who appeared regularly last year. We’re keen to get fresh blood involved, and places will be up for grabs from the first training session onwards. This is a new start, and the beginning of a new era for the Sonics.”


Wes Rodgers, who retired as a player at the start of 2014 after many years service to the Sonics, said: “I wasn’t around much last season but understand that it was a difficult one. When Dom and Lawrence asked me to come back and join the coaching team, I jumped at the chance. We know it will be hard work this season, but we showed back in 2012 during our Conference League Three campaign that it’s possible to build momentum as the season progresses. That’s what we’re aiming to do this season – get the players up to speed, used to the systems we want to play, and then look for gradual improvements between March and September.”


All three are keen to get new players involved this season, and have urged any prospective players – regardless of whether they have previous Rugby League experience – to head down to pre-season training when it begins on February 16.


Dom Swann said: “We’re looking for players for both first and second teams, and we’re keen to take a look at anyone who fancies giving Rugby League a go. It’s a hard, fast and rewarding sport, and we’ve got a great bunch of lads. We’ll be looking at improving the social side of things as well, so it should be a great experience.”


Bristol Sonics begin pre-season training on Monday 16th February at Dings Crusaders RFC, Lockleaze, Bristol (7pm start).