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Rugby Union: Several Old Cooperians players ready to face former club Barking in RFU Intermediate Cup

PUBLISHED: 13:00 17 November 2017

Old Cooperians head coach Craig Ratford previousl played for Barking (pic: Archant)

Old Cooperians head coach Craig Ratford previousl played for Barking (pic: Archant)

Archant

Several Old Cooperians players will come up against their former side when the Upminster-based club entertain Barking in the second round of the RFU Intermediate Cup.

The St Mary’s Lane club will switch their focus from their London Two North East campaign to beating the Gale Street side in the cup.

Among those to come up against their former club is current Coops head coach Craig Ratford, having skippered Barking in the 2012-13 season.

Prior to that, Ratford was also part of the Barking side that won promotion to National League One back in the 2009-10 campaign.

But Ratford is keen to put his past to one side this weekend, instead looking to do whatever he can to guide Coops to success.

“Of course I have a history with Barking, but the game isn’t about me and we are fully focused on securing the win to progress to the next round,” said the head coach.

With no league points on offer this weekend, it is a chance for Coops to freshen up their squad and rest any players with niggling injuries.

And Ratford confirmed there would be some rotation to the starting XV as Coops look to keep their players fit for the league.

“This week will be another good chance for some boys who haven’t had much game time lately to get a full 80 minutes under their belts,” he added.

Old Coops head into the cup tie off the back of a 58-0 loss at home to current Two North East leaders Rochford last weekend.

With the St Mary’s Lane club suffering from a spate of injuries, it was always likely to be a difficult game against the promotion favourites and so it proved.

Despite the final result, it was another spirited display from a depleted Coops side, and Ratford had few complaints with his team’s levels of commitment.

“Saturday was a tough game for the boys, but their attitude throughout was spot on and they never gave up,” he said.“We knew it would always be tough, but like every game we had to front up and give it our best shot.”

A similar level of commitment could be enough to guide Coops past rivals Barking in the cup this weekend.

And that would surely give them a boost ahead of returning to league action at home to Norwich on November 25.

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