We should be in National League, says Colchester Rugby Club coach

Anthony O'Riordan

Anthony O'Riordan - Credit: Archant

Promotion to the National League for Colchester at the end of the season will be long overdue, according to director of rugby, Anthony O’Riordan.

The Mill Road outfit sit second in London 1 North, following his team’s 85-0 home win against Old Priorians on Saturday, having lost just once this season, at home to leaders Eton Manor, 15-14, on the opening day.

Since them, O’Riordan’s men have racked up eight straight league wins, averaging 55 points a game, and are just three points behind the leaders with over half the season still to play.

Colchester have been the ‘nearly men’ of the division in recent seasons, finishing third (twice), second and fourth in the last four campaigns, something O’Riordan is determined to rectify come March.

“We are pushing for promotion and that’s not us being arrogant,” said O’Riordan.

“We are probably the biggest club in south east England (at Colchester’s level) but for the last four years we have hung around and finished in the top-four. We should have been in the National League two or three years ago.

“If and when we get there, we have a great team in place upstairs, on the board and committee. We don’t pay any players but they know they are looked after.”

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O’Riordan is reluctant to take much credit for Colchester’s results this season, instead placing the emphasis on his players.

Asked what has changed at the club, O’Riordan – the director of rugby at Colne Rugby Academy – explained: “I think it’s just the culture and I can’t take any credit away from the performance of the players. They are young guys with uncontrollable enthusiasm and no fear.

“Whatever we strive towards, we try and create a culture of success through hard work.

“It’s been about fine tuning the existing squad and developing what we have already at the club.

“I have high expectations of my players and I coach them from a player’s background rather than from a coaching one. The boys know I can relate to them but the onus is on them to perform and myself to continue challenging them.”

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