By N Lawless
New Huddersfield Senior Rugby Manager Mike Baggs has expressed his wish to see a thriving First XV and Falcons team during his time at the club.
Ahead of the first pre-season matches against Sheffield Tigers on Saturday, Baggs said: “I think we’re a National 2 club and we have to establish that. The Falcons should be challenging at the top of their league.”
Speaking about his first pre-season with the first team, Baggs said: “It’s gone very well. We’ve had a lot of new faces come in which is nice, we’ve had good numbers to training, three fantastic coaches and it’s been a really good, productive pre-season.
“It’s my first time managing, I’ve always been a coach and I’m managing the senior squad this season. Obviously the focus is always going to be on the first team but I’m equally focussed and passionate on making sure the second team do well and get good numbers.
“Obviously having a strong second team helps push the first team and make sure it’s strong all the way through.”
Discussing the possibility of his involvement with the Falcons having an impact on who gets their chance with the First XV, he said: “I’ll be giving the coaches feedback but ultimately the selection comes down to them.
“It’ll be down to the lads themselves of course to prove themselves, not just here but who goes away and improves on their fitness, their gym work and their commitment. Those who prove themselves will get their chance, definitely.”
On the challenge of Sheffield Eagles, Baggs stated: “I’m expecting it to be tough. They got relegated last year from the division we’re now in so I’m sure they’re going to keen to get straight back up there.
“There’s a bit of added spice in that their coach is Thiu Bernard who played down here a few years ago so he’ll want to make a point. I’m sure it’ll be a good old challenge for the lads, one I’m equally sure they’ll be up for.”
Huddersfield Falcons kick off on Saturday against Sheffield Tigers 2nd team at 1pm with the First XV following against Sheffield Eagles First XV at 3pm, both at Lockwood Park.