Swords Rugby Club’s Richard Cowman is hoping to prove the doubters wrong this season after a regional rugby podcast made his team favourites to make the drop from Leinster League Division 2B.
With many players emigrating, Cowman believes a few of those drafted in to take their place have a point to prove and, although he has admitted that the season may focus more on the “personal enjoyment” of his side, he still believes they can shock a few people along the way.
“It’s obviously not great to hear your time being slated on a podcast,” Cowman told GazetteSport. “But it was fairly unavoidable because it was all over Facebook and Twitter.
“There’s no doubt that the team have lost a lot of key players – it’s currently seven – but it will be eight soon. But the players we have brought in from the second team and the younger squads want to stand up and be counted.
“To be honest, I think they’ve taken the podcast as a bit of a billy up, and when you look at it, it’s relieved a lot of pressure off the men. They can go out and try new things on the field, it’s really a case of nothing ventured, nothing gained,” said Cowman.
Despite being touted as favourites for relegation, Swords have impressed in pre-season competition and found themselves in the final of the Jenkinson Cup final where they await the winner of North Meath and Dundalk.
“We’ve been quite good in pre-season. We lost out on one occasion but we’ve done well to get wins from our other three games against Ratoath, Navan and Athboy, which have helped us to the final of a cup.
“There has also been a big focus on strength and conditioning. We’ve brought in lads from Kiwi Fit who’ve been great and the strongman sessions they’ve been doing have really made a difference so far,” said Cowman.
With the beginning of their league season beginning on Sunday, Swords are gearing up for a complete change in their style of play, with the losses to their side forcing them to come up with a plan of action that could cause their opposition a few problems.
North Kildare are up first and although Cowman knows the side have shown great versatility over the years, he is still looking forward to testing his side’s mettle.
“It’s really a mixed bag as far as North Kildare are concerned. They’ve had great forward lines in the past but they’ve also had really fast backs so it’s very hard to prepare for them as far as isolating a singular threat is concerned.
“We’ve had to make a lot of changes to our way of playing the game too. If we go out and play a very structured game I think we have more of a chance of being figured out and we could allow teams to capitalise in that way.
“Swords will be playing a fast tempo game next year. Hopefully we’ll be able to use the young legs in the team and if we string a few results together, anything is possible,” he finished.