Bristol Sonics return to Conference League South action this Saturday (August 3) for the first time in three weeks, with a tricky trip to Leicester Storm.
The Sonics, who sit second in the table going into the latter stages of the season, are aiming to get back into form in time for the play-offs, which begin at the end of the month.
They face a tough task on Saturday at New College, Leicester, against a well organized, in-form Storm side that has begun to find some form in recent times.
The last time the sides met in Leicester, earlier in the season, the Sonics required a last-gasp try from veteran back James Gross to take home the points. Bristol generally have a poor record in Leicester, and will have to be at the top of their game to breach the home side’s miserly defence.
To make matters worse, Bristol are set to be without a string of first team regulars, though they can take some comfort from the return of skipper Dom Swann, experienced forward Wes Rodgers and a clutch of on-loan players from partner club the University of Gloucestershire All Golds. Director of Rugby Karl Fearnley could also include a number of players who impressed for the club’s second team, whose season finished two weeks ago with a comprehensive victory over Swindon St George.
Sonics’ captain Dom Swann is relishing his return to action, and has urged his side to re-focus ahead of the end-of-season play-offs.
Swann said: “From the very start of the season, our focus has been getting to the Grand Final in Hemel. We started the season well, but as time has passed we’ve looked a little fragile defensively and we’ve not been able to get a settled side. The next three games give us a great opportunity to re-focus and find some form ahead of the play-offs.
“It will be very difficult at Leicester. They’re a tough, well-organised side, coached by someone with professional experience, Dean Thomas. They’ve been in great form of late and they’ll be desperate to get another win to try and secure third in the League, or even second if we slip-up.
“We want to go into the play-offs in the best possible form. To do that we need to take these next three games seriously, play to our plans and start getting some rhythm back into our play.”
Bristol Sonics face Leicester Storm at New College, Leicester, on Saturday 3rd August, kick-off 3pm. Fans can follow match and score updates online at http://twitter.com/BristolSonicsRL