Jonker hails strength in depth for Blue and Whites

Boston Rugby Club First XV.
Boston Rugby Club First XV.

COMPETITION for places will be fierce ahead of Boston Rugby Club’s season opener against Ollerton on Saturday.

New coach Willem Jonker has been running the rule over the Blue and Whites - and believes strength in depth is the key to a successful season.

However, with just days to go, the South African is not quite sure what his actual strongest team is.

“I’ve sat down with captain Marc Miles and we tried to pick our strongest XV,” Jonker told The Standard.

“I think we’ve got our strongest 20 at the moment, which is the position I want to be in.

“That means there’s competition for places.”

Jonker’s arrival from Peterborough - a team he guided to Midlands One level - has brought a buzz back to the Boardsides.

With more than 60 players trying out in pre-season training, Jonker certainly has options.

The former pro says he still has at least two years left of playing in him, while former Saracens youth product Sean Hughes has arrived to play at number eight.

“Having people down means we’ve got plenty of competition for positions and, as a coach, you want to be able to have players to choose from,” Jonker added.

“I’m trying to bring in a different attitude towards training. I’m looking at the Australian way - more high-intensity stuff.”

And it is that attacking approach to the game that Jonker believes he is instilling into the Blue and Whites.

He continued: “I’m trying to implement a Southern Hemisphere style of play and, so far, in the friendly and cup games we’ve had, I’ve seen that.

“But I’m sure that when the weather changes we may have to resort to more of a kicking game.”

But in the meantime, Boston have Saturday’s visitors (KO 3pm) very much in their sights.

After their 62-7 mauling of North Hykeham in the Notts, Lincs and Derby Vase, Boston are eager to get back to their bread and butter - the league.

Jonker has already stated that anything less than promotion from Midlands 5 East (North) this season will be a failure.

He believes Boston should have the team to compliment the environment provided for them at the Princess Royal Sports Arena.

Talking to The Standard in the club’s bar, he leaned back in his sofa, looked around, cracked a smile and said: “The facilities here are good enough for Midlands One.

“We’ve got everything we need to reach our aims.

“I’ve played at a higher level where the lads are getting changed in a tent on a tennis court.

“There’s none of that here.”