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Hawkins Division 1 - Lincoln University Attempt to Build on Success of 2013
Lincoln University Division 1 co-coach John Haggart admits that there will be more expectations on his side this season than last year after they won the
It was something of a rollercoaster season for the country students, the tertiary institution providing the feel-good factor of the early competition before being beaten by High School Old Boys in the semi-finals of the Hawkins Trophy. John, who is coaching again with Dave Perrin, says the challenge for his side is to meet the greater expectations that will undoubtedly come.
“We may have caught a few teams on the hop last season,” John admits. “I can’t see that happening this year.” While Lincoln University has only lost four-five players from last season’s squad an early loss has been 2013 Canterbury Colt Michael Green, ruled out of the entire season with a knee injury.
“The spirit in the squad is again very good,” John says. “Unlike other clubs, we get the boys only from the end of February when they return to university. We then establish with them what they want to achieve during the season and we put the processes in place to hopefully try and make that happen.”
John says that while it is inspiring for his young squad to see the likes of Sam Whitelock and Dominic Bird star in professional rugby and a host of other talented players perform in representative sides, his squad largely have the talent and opportunity individually to make their own mark in the game. “Our performances are really in our own hands in this regard and if we perform well individually and collectively then good things will follow for the boys down the track.”
Lincoln University, which begin its campaign against Sumner at home this weekend, know that their recent success has encouraged a great club spirit. “We have ensured the guys know about the great players and teams that the club has produced down the years. The challenge for us this season is to join those individuals and be talked about the same way in future years.”
John says that his side is not too focused on outcome goals although it would of course like to replicate and then better what it did in the Cup and Trophy competitions last season. “I wouldn’t like to focus on any individuals but I do believe we have efficient forwards that can win us plenty of quality possession this year and give us an opportunity to attack,” he says.
John says that as both he and Dave coach for enjoyment of it they have been heartened by the success that Lincoln University has had recently. “Seeing the guys develop individually and collectively makes it all worthwhile for us.”
In other Round One matches this weekend, New Brighton are at home to Christchurch, University host High School Old Boys, Shirley meets Linwood in an eastern derby, while Belfast meets Marist Albion and Burnside hosts Sydenham.
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