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Cambridge Rugby Club gearing up for National League One clashes against top two sides

While nothing will be decided between now and the end of this month, director of rugby Richie Williams believes that his Cambridge side has a genuine opportunity to lay down a marker in the tussle at the top of National League One.

Third-placed Cambridge are one of just three sides who have collected a maximum of 25 points from their opening five fixtures this season.

On Saturday (October 15) Williams’ men head to another of those teams with a 100 per cent record – table-topping Rams – while a fortnight later they face second-placed Rosslyn Park.

Richie Williams' Cambridge side travel to Reading to face Rams this weekend. Picture: Keith Heppell
Richie Williams' Cambridge side travel to Reading to face Rams this weekend. Picture: Keith Heppell

By chance, sandwiched between those two fixtures is a match-up between Reading-based Rams and Rosslyn Park on October 22, all of which makes it an important three-week period in the battle at the summit.

“The start we’ve had to the season has given us a really good platform to build from,” said Williams (pictured inset).

“It’s a really important month, that’s for sure. It’s a real test of our credentials and we’ll be looking to put in some good performances. And if we can pick up a couple of good results it will set us up nicely heading towards the Christmas period.

“But on the flip side if we do lose points, the points we’ve picked up have given us a decent buffer.

“You can’t win anything at this stage of the season but you can make things difficult for yourself going forward, like we did last season.

“It will be a decent barometer as to where we’re at but it’s also not the be all and end all.

“There will still be 20 or so games of rugby left to play after October is finished.”

Last term Cambridge had a habit of struggling to pick up positive results away from home against the teams within the higher echelons of the division.

In a bid to combat this time around – and following conversations with the playing squad – Williams and his coaching staff have implemented some changes.

He said: “We’ve tweaked a range of things, particularly around the build up to these type of away matches. We had a chat with the players and we’ll slightly be amending what we do travel wise. We’ll stop at a hotel close to Reading and do some bits and pieces there.

“We’ll see how it works out for us but we think it will help with making sure we’re right.”

Cambridge will travel to Berkshire on the back of a league-wide break from action last weekend.

Yet rather than be concerned about how it could have impacted upon his side’s winning momentum, Williams is confident the players will have benefited from having some time off.

“We’re five tough games in and when you combine that with three really competitive pre-season friendlies that is eight games,” he added. “The players had to put in a big effort last time (against Sale). It was our biggest challenge yet, it took a lot out of the players and it was the most complete performance we’ve put in so far this season.

“To have the opportunity to rest and recover going into an important run of games is really important.”

Summer signing Tom Hoppe, who has been nursing a hamstring injury, could be part of the squad this weekend with Williams confirming that there are no fresh fitness concerns.

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