Canterbury RFC head coach Andy Pratt looking forward to tough pre-season test for new-look squad against Blackheath
Pre-season preparations go up a gear for Canterbury Rugby Club this weekend when they take on the No.1 club side in Kent.
A trip to Blackheath on Saturday provides the city club’s sternest test of the summer, with head coach Andy Pratt keen for his side to hit the ground running when National 2 South kicks-off on September 7.
Pratt felt Canterbury were not up to speed 12 months ago and wants to avoid a repeat.
He said: “Last year, we were possibly a bit under-cooked. We played lower-league opposition and I don’t know if that was effective.
“We lost our opening game, for various reasons. Possibly we weren’t prepared for that standard.
“Blackheath have a new head coach and they’ve recruited aggressively. They’ll be a big challenge and that’s what we need; to see where we’re at against the leading team in Kent.”
Pratt was missing a dozen senior players for Saturday’s game against Westcombe Park but Canterbury still ran out 33-31 winners.
There were tries for Kwaku Asiedu, Tom Collins, Sam Rogers, Jim Green and new signing Charlie Harding, while Kiwi fly-half Reuben Meares – another summer recruit –kicked four conversions.
Pratt said: “When we had our strongest XV out, we were definitely the dominant team.
“It’s always difficult to gauge at this time of year because I’m sure Westcombe Park had players missing, as we did.
“But the new recruits played well and that’s comforting for me because until you see them on the pitch you’re never too sure.”
Canterbury’s transfer business continued this week when they completed the signing of Brook Cowan, a No.8 from New Zealand.
However, Cowan doesn’t land in the UK until September 15, so he will miss Canterbury’s first two league fixtures.
Royce Cadman is back at Merton Lane, having played professionally for Newport Gwent Dragons and Doncaster Knights since his first spell at Canterbury.
Australian scrum-half Grant Kay is also on board, while centre Harding has made a shorter journey from Kent rivals Tonbridge Juddians.
However, Pratt – who wants to improve on last season’s eighth-placed finish – is still looking to strengthen Canterbury’s front-row.
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