FORTRESS Murrayfield is sure to come under an onslaught today in the Southern Inland Rugby Union, but the Steamers are ready to defend their turf.
It’s been a long time since the Steamers have lost at home and coach Mick Raines said his players would be defending that long and proud record against CSU Reddies.
“They are going to be pretty motivated,” he said.
“The players hold dear and really value that it’s a fortress here at Murrayfield.”
But Raines is under no illusions — it’s going to be tough.
Raines said the Reddies had held the core of their team together and always managed to pick up young, fast players.
“They’re definitely on the way up and (coach) Mick Wakeling will have them primed for this,” he said.
“And (skipper) Paul Hood will move them around the paddock really well — they’ll move wide and fast.
“We’re going to have to get into the game immediately — last week we took too long, and we’re looking to have our pattern game going from the get go.
“We need to give that platform to the backs as early as possible.
“It’s not going to be about any one individual, this week it’s about the team gelling and being motivated and playing with passion and intensity from the start.”
Pat Williams (medial ligament) and Andy Connell (calf strain) will be missing from the Steamers’ line-up after suffering injuries last week, but Raines said he was confident the club had the depth to fill the gaps.
“It’s more disappointing for them,” he said.
“Like everyone who plays rugby they just want to get out and play — it’s hard for these guys who have worked hard all pre-season to miss out on the sidelines.”
Forecast rain won’t put out the Steamers’ fire, with Raines saying it wouldn’t affect the game.
“Murrayfield holds up pretty well, it’s not the kind of ground that really bogs up,” he said.
“So I don’t think we’re going to see them slow down just because of the weather.
“But it’s what rugby’s about.
“The guys love getting out there in any weather conditions, all they need is a ball and a referee.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s third grade or playing for your country, it’s the same principal that binds the sport together and that’s the love of the game.”