Pre-season preparations step up a gear when a senior squad travel to play a Chichester Rugby Club XV tomorrow night (7.30pm) writes Brian Seeney.

"This is the first outing for the squad following an intense pre-season," said interim Head Coach Simon Pickett.

Pickett is in charge of the final weeks of pre-season training after Head Coach Barry Bridgman temporarily stepped down from his duties for personal reasons.

"When the chance arose to play at Chichester it was the perfect opportunity for us to test ourselves for the season and hopefully see how far we've come over the summer after a lot of hard work by Barry and the lads.

"It's also an opportunity to look at everyone especially some of the new recruits.

"We want to perform well against a good side. I would like to see us execute what we have been doing on the training paddock all summer.

"If we can do that I'll be happy as we keep building towards the first competitive games for the 1st XV and 2nd XV on 9th September."

The Chichester match will be followed by a local derby against Portsmouth on 2nd September (3pm kick-off) at Rugby Camp.

'What better preparation is there for a hard season than a pre-season fixture against Pompey?" said Pickett.

"That will certainly sort the men from the boys and will give us an understanding as to who is really up for the battle when the London South West 2 campaign starts.

"I'm hoping we will have some travelling support for both games to add to the atmosphere at both grounds."

Chichester Rugby Football Club

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