Confidence high in the Lions camp after impressive friendly victory

Sam Crooks on the charge for the Lions against South Leicester. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Sam Crooks on the charge for the Lions against South Leicester. Picture: Mick Sutterby
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The Peterborough Lions are ready to roar.

The Bretton-based club go into English Clubs Championship action on Saturday (September 2) with confidence high after a notable pre-season friendly result at the weekend.

They entertained higher-level South Leicester at Bretton Park and ran out convincing winners, beating the National League Division Two side 38-28.

The Lions play one level below South Leicester in the Midlands Premiership and begin their season with an away game at Bridgnorth.

And chairman Andy Moore is convinced it will be the springboard to a promotion-clinching season.

“I’m convinced this could be our year,” he said. “We’ve come close at this level for the last three seasons, now it’s time to move up.

“The win against South Leicester was fantastic.

“It was electric. It was fast-paced rugby played with the ball in hand between two sides really going for it.

“We did well the previous weekend to only just lose to National League One side Ampthill and against South Leicester we upped it another level. We were outstanding - backs and forwards alike - and I’m really excited about this season.”

Once again new Tongan centre Semisi Sitanilei Tei shone for the Lions and he scorched in for two of their six tries.

The others came from Dean Elmore - a fine solo effort, Sam Crooks, Ryan Morris and Wes Cope, who took great delight in scoring against his former club.

Former Tongan World Cup star Vili Ma’asi was appointed head coach at the end of last season, replacing Darren Fox following his move up the coaching ladder to Cambridge, and the new man has recruited strongly during the summer months.

The new arrivals have swelled the squad to 33 players, including Ma’asi himself.

The difficulty will be choosing the right starting XV for Saturday.

“I’ve seen all the players in the pre-season friendlies and they’re all good enough to play at this level,” said Moore.

“Picking the right XV could be a real headache for Vili. Let’s hope he gets it right.”

The team will be picked after training tonight.

Lions squad: Marius Andrijauskas, Tom Aviss, Wes Cope, Sam Crooks, Conor Crown, Nico Defeo, Tom Dougherty, Dean Elmore, Conor Gracey, Tom Gulland, Vaha Halifonua, Kaz Henderson, Jonathan Hill, Ben Howard, Chris Humphrey, Alex Ioannou, Tom Jones, Pete Kolakowski, Kepa Latu, Joe Lee, Jack Lewis, Tom Lewis, Vili Ma’asi, Suva Ma’asi, Fergal McNamara, Dan Milem, Ryan Morris, George Offer, Semisi Sitanislei Tei, Josh Waller, Rory White, Harry Winch, Tom Winch