Chinnor return to action this weekend at the Rams XV-a-side festival.
Director of rugby Matt Williams has assembled an exciting squad for the club’s second season in National League 1, with a good mixture of high-calibre signings, retained favourites and young talent.
With nine weeks of pre-season already under their belts, Chinnor head to Berkshire on Saturday for a four-team tournament. They will take on hosts Rams, Bournemouth and Pontypool in a round-robin stage, before the sides go on to contest a final and third-place play-off.
Williams has been pleased with what he has seen from his players so far and is looking forward to them stepping up their preparations.
“It’s been a good pre-season, the boys have worked very hard,” he said.
“With such a big turnover of squad this year, we brought the boys in very early and they are at a stage where they’re ready for a hit out.
“We had our first live contact session last week, which went very well. The boys are hungry for contact which is important.
“We proved last year that we can score tries, it was stopping them that was the issue, so we’ve built good structures this year.
“We’re very confident we can score a lot of points, but success and failure is determined by how many you can stop, not score.”
Laurence May is among the new recruits set for his first run out in a Chinnor jersey. The fly-half, who joined from Ealing Trailfinders, is looking forward to the season ahead.
He said: “It’s an exciting place, there’s a lot of new guys, but I think we’re gelling well.
“Pre-season has been really hard work.
“It’s been a bit of a change for guys coming in from full-time rugby, as we train on Tuesday and Thursday evenings after a long day’s work.
“But it’s good, I think everyone’s enjoying it and it’s going well, so hopefully we will have a good season.
“We’ve done a lot of work on different structures, so it will be interesting to see everything in practice.”
Among the familiar faces from last season is Joe Dancer.
The flanker played a key role as Chinnor finished tenth in their debut campaign in the third tier of English rugby.
And he is backing the side to challenge this season.
“We know we’re going to be competitive,” said Dancer.
“Looking at some of the signings we’ve made, they’re strong for a National 1 side.
“We know there are other teams who have done similar recruiting, but we certainly want to be up there.”
Round 1: Chinnor v Pontypool (1pm).
Round 2: Chinnor v Rams (2pm).
Round 3: Chinnor v Bournemouth (3pm).
Final/Third-place play-off: 4pm.