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Canterbury looking forward to full-contact rugby as restrictions lifted

Canterbury’s forwards are finally able to scrummage again.

The remaining Covid rules restricting contact have been lifted, allowing the city club to step up preparations for the new season.

Canterbury coach Matt Corker
Canterbury coach Matt Corker

Tackling and rucking recently returned, with scrums and mauls also now allowed - great news for the big forwards.

“The loss of some of the instinctive contact skills has surprised some of the boys,” said coach Matt Corker.

“We started pre-season early, anticipating that it would take a long time incrementally to build it up.

“We can live-scrummage and live-maul, so we can start the journey of reintroducing those skills.

“It’s been a very long time since the forwards scrummaged - they’re very excited and we’re really happy about it because our front row is a real weapon for us.

“It’s nice for them to get to do what they’re great at. It’s not like they don’t do other stuff but the contact side is a big part of their game and they want to get back to it.

“We like running around and playing catch and pass rugby, we pride ourselves on that, but the physical aspect is a massive part.”

Canterbury host Old Elthamians in their opening pre-season friendly on August 14.

The National 2 South campaign gets under way at Bury St Edmunds on September 4.

Corker is hoping for an uninterrupted season but Canterbury will deal with whatever comes their way.

He said: “We’re in a world where you can’t predict what’s going to happen. That’s not a bad thing for us because being able to adapt is a powerful skill to have.

“We know we could be facing a potentially uncertain future but we’re focusing on preparing as best we can.

“We’re bringing through some young players and it’s great to see the senior players upskilling them.

“I’ve said to the boys going into pre-season, there’s probably been a reset in the league where squads have changed so much, with players retiring or moving on.

“It’s hard to judge, I don’t know where I’d place us.

“As coaches, we’ve been really happy with the stuff we’re producing on the training pitch but we’ll have to see how that translates when we try to stamp our authority on the league come September 4.

“Recruitment has been a challenge - not that we’ve been looking for loads, just one or two in certain positions - but the flipside of that is a fantastic opportunity to reinvest in these young players coming through.

“There’s no relegation, which is great for me as we can put these young players in knowing the pressure’s off a little bit.

“But that doesn’t change my expectations because I know what we can achieve, I know how competitive the squad is and I can’t take my eye off wanting to win games.”

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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