There’s still all to play for as champions Ipswich targets 100 points in London 2 North
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
Promotion to London 1 North has been secured but Ipswich still have plenty to fight for in their final game of the season at South Woodham, while moves are already being made to make the club a force at the next level of the game.
The London 2 North title may be in the bag, but don’t expect Ipswich to take their foot off the gas next Saturday.
Their final game of a spectacular campaign will see Johnny Breedt’s men travel to South Woodham Ferrers in a contest that looked set to determine Ipswich’s fate.
However, Saffron Walden’s shock defeat at Chelmsford and the Suffolk side’s victory at home to Holt handed the league championship to the Humber Doucy Lane outfit.
There is still all to play for though and Ipswich want to finish on 100 points for the season and end it having scored more than 1,000 game points, hopefully bettering second-placed Saffron’s for and against difference in the process.
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“The boys were talking about playing in different positions and have different people taking kicks at South Woodham, but there will be none of that,” said director of rugby, Karl King.
“Yes, we’ve won the title and we’ll probably enjoy the coach journey there more than we have previously this campaign, when there has always been pressure on the team, but there’s still a lot to play for.
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“We will approach the game as though it is a title-decider and want to finish better than Saffron in all aspects of the final table.”
The players could be forgiven for having one eye on their summer holidays but, with London 1 North their destination next season, they can’t rest on their laurels, despite leaving King purring over some of their performances this year.
“I felt it all came together in the (113-0) victory against Lowestoft & Yarmouth,” he recalls.
“I felt very sorry for our opponents that day, they weren’t a bad team but they walked into an Ipswich side that had just realised they were a decent side.
“The guys were out to prove themselves but have gone a bit too far since. There have been guys wanting to score tries from all over the park and taking on 30 men, rather than giving the pass.”
He added: “The perfect point in the season was Lowestoft, while the victory against Norwich here (55-7) a couple of weeks ago was the perfect reflection of how much we wanted success.
“The Norwich win was in front of a big crowd and the club was back as how I used to know it.
“The away win at Rochford Hundred, we were the only team that won there, turned out to be the one that made the difference though.”
On looking ahead, King added: “We are close to finalising our coaching structure and delivering better coaching, focusing on more specialist training such as kicking and close area tacking, but we will be avidly looking for new recruits.
“We’ve used a small pool of players and will need a bigger squad and, with our second team having done well this season, we will look at some of that squad to step up.”
Lots of that second team, plus several that have featured in the successful first XV this season are Ipswich-born, with many having come up through the ranks.
While not exclusively looking for players born in the town, King is keen for the club’s community ethos to continue growing.
“A lot of our success has been down to bringing guys back to Ipswich who live very close to the club but who have been playing elsewhere, as well as using our own youngsters much more,” he explained. “I would like to go back to the situation where people want to join Ipswich because of the way we play and because of our coaching setup, and London 1 North will be a big badge for us, in terms of players looking to join us.
“I am fortunate to know the coach of Pakistan (Roger Coombes, who recommended Alex Zahid joined Ipswich), the coach of Laos, and many others coaches of teams in Asia and the Middle East who may want some of their players playing more competitive rugby.
“We are quite open to bringing in players from anywhere.”
Whoever dons the black and gold in London 1 North will have clear objectives. Yes, progression is a buzz word but the club doesn’t have ideas above its station.
“Five home wins are normally enough to keep you in the division,” said King.
“We’re not going to go guns blazing and our first aim will be to get five home wins and build on that.
“We want to start the season with everything in place, but until that first tackle, you never know what you have got.”