Rugby Union: Barking head coach Ollie Smith expects close game at Chelmsford, despite win in previous meeting

PUBLISHED: 17:30 26 January 2017

Barking head coach Ollie Smith (pic: Paul Page)

Barking head coach Ollie Smith (pic: Paul Page)


Gale Street club won by 35 points when the sides met in September

Barking head coach Ollie Smith says their previous win over London One North relegation rivals Chelmsford counts for little as the teams prepare to do battle again on Saturday.

When the sides met at Gale Street back in September, Barking ran out 55-20 victors in a match which remains their only home triumph this season.

And while Smith acknowledges that result might give his squad a boost this weekend, he says it does not give any pointers as to which way Saturday’s match will go.

“We had our best win this season against Chelsmford, but they were hit by injuries before and during that game,” said the former British & Irish Lions tourist.

“If you compare our results with theirs, it’s been almost identical in terms of the scores we have lost to certain teams, which suggests it’s going to be a tight game.

“We can’t read too much into our last game with Chelmsford; you’re only as good as your last game, and in that we were beaten quite comprehensively by North Walsham.”

Barking were due to host Sudbury, another of their relegation rivals, last weekend, but the match was postponed because of a frozen pitch, with the game rescheduled for February 4.

Smith was understandably frustrated to see the match fall victim of the cold weather, but appreciates it has allowed some of his injured players another week to get back to fitness and possibly face Chelmsford

“We’ve got almost as strong a squad as possible to pick from this weekend, which is a positive of not playing last weekend.

“Just because we’ve got some good players back doesn’t mean it will be easy, we will still have to be on the ball from the off.

“With respect to being at it from the start, there is no change there, but it is a big positive to get some players back to fitness.”

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