Peterborough RUFC will throw everything at the title favourites when the Midlands League kicks off on Saturday

Peterborough RUFC coach Shane Manning is playing the long-game with his club.

By Alan Swann
Friday, 3rd September 2021, 4:00 pm
Shane Manning.
Shane Manning.

Borough open their Midlands Division One East campaign at promotion fancies Kettering at Saturday, but Manning is looking way beyond that fixture for his new-look side.

Manning said: “Our first objective is to re-establish ourselves in the league and become a good team that is regularly in the top half of the table.

“From there we can look at where we are at and what is needed to become a top four club so building depth from within, in all positions, is going to be crucial.

“We don’t pay players like some other clubs have to do to get a team together, so as a true community club we will give everyone an opportunity to play and hopefully aim for that first team shirt.”

Borough will give debuts at Kettering to Michael Hall, Willis Ingleby, Murphy Hall, Michael Benson, Liam Dunne and Sam Cowell who have all moved to the club looking for an opportunity to play East Midlands Division One rugby.

The side will be once again be captained by George Offer.

Manning added: “Kettering will give us a very stern test. They, along with Bedford Athletic, are favourites to win the league having been relegated from the league above the previous season. But, as we will do with every game this season, we will be going there to win.

“Everyone is really looking forward to playing and getting back into proper competitive rugby. We will have to be at our best to get a result, but so will Kettering. We will be throwing everything at them while trying to play some entertaining rugby at the same time.”

Remarkably this will be the first competitive match for Borough with Manning as coach even though he joined the club almost 18 months ago!

Club rugby at regional level effectively shut down when Covid struck.

“The lads have been really welcoming,” Manning enthused. “And most importantly they have been really keen to work hard and learn. Pre-season went well, however it does take time to get all your structures and systems in place and then for the players to get used to them all.

“A big part of it has been getting to know the players and to earn their trust and it takes time for the new players to settle in as well.”