NEWENT are closing in on a Twickenham return and the signs are looking good for the Gloucester Premier pacesetters.
They host Old Plymothian and Mannamedian and will start as strong favourites in the South West Counties Final of the National Junior Vase on Saturday .
While Newent have won 14 of their 15 league games this season, their opponents have struggled in Cornwall/Devon Division. They have won only four of their 14 games and find themselves in the bottom five.
Newent have some great recent memories of national cup competitions after winning the Junior Vase at Twickenham last season with a 58-29 win over Baildon.
Skipper Tristan Veale would love to return to the home of English rugby for the second time in 12 months.
“We want to get to Twickenham and win,” he said. “ We want to progress as far as we can. The league is our priority this year, but our aim is to get to Twickenham.
Winning there last year was phenomenal and we weren’t too overwhelmed playing there either.
“We spoke about it beforehand and were all quite relaxed. The match before was overwhelming, though. There was so much pressure but once we’d got there that was it and winning was just a bonus. It was a brilliant experience to play on a pitch in perfect condition like that. But now that we have done it once, winning is the main aim.”
Veale admits that he does not know too much about Old Plymothian.
“We haven’t played them before,” he said.
“Our coaches Andy Addis and Peter Kingston do a lot of the research but I think they prefer us to go into the game a bit unaware so we don’t get too confident.”
James Dean (scrum-half) and George Phelps (flanker) are both unavailable.
“We have a better player base to pick from than previous years so I don’t think they will be missed too much,” said Veale.
“We have been using a lot more players this year. There have been 26 or 27 players in the main squad so far and the players available to us to play in the first team is growing all the time.”
If Newent win on Saturday they would have to win two more games before reaching Twickenham.