Chichester Rugby Club’s first XV return to action at Oaklands Park on Saturday after a much-needed festive break that followed what turned out to be a tough first half of the season.
The Blues are confident they will have a successful second half of the season and are appealing to local rugby fans to get behind them.
Chi head into their next set of games tenth in London one south and hoping another run of victories can take them into a comfortable midd-table spot or even the top half.
They’ve had terrible luck with injuries so far in this campaign but hope for better fortune as some of the key men return to fitness.
Director of rugby Paul Colley told the Observer: “This season was always going to be a challenge with several key players retiring from rugby.
“Losing regular first-team front five forwards Nick Shopland, Nick Blount, Phil Dickin, Aaron Davies and Tom Belcher would hurt any squad at this level, and we lost influential skipper Jack Bentall to long-term injury.
“Add this to some significant early-season injuries and this has given us some real selection headaches which has impacted not only the first team but also the seconds and thirds.
“Injuries and unavailability are inevitable but this season has been a real challenge, testing our strength in depth, and if I’m honest we’ve been a little short.
“But there have been some outstanding individual performances and when we’ve been able to get some consistency with availability we have shown we can compete with anyone in the league.
“Our run of four wins in November highlight that we have the potential.
“I’m very pleased with the coaching structure with an excellent breadth of talent in our head coach Scott Ashley, defence coach Neil McGovern and attack coach Mark Norton.
“Having Kieran Low, who has worked tirelessly to bring his top-level and international experience to assist at London one level, is a massive plus for us.
"However we desperately need a regular second-team coach/manager combination to ensure that the twos are able to push up and pressure the ones squad with consistent pitchside support.
“If there is anyone who would like to put something back into rugby, ex-CRFC or not, please feel free to contact me for a chat.”
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Colley said they hoped to have some key players back from injury soon, including talented skipper Charlie Wallace and last year’s top discovery Jack Hamilton-Fox. A couple of new signings are also due to arrive.
The director of rugby added: “As a club we now need to pull together with a genuine ‘one club’ approach across all playing teams and, importantly, the support on the pitchside. With people’s vocal support the Blues will rise again.
“I would call on all supporters of Chi to give us this much-needed support for our first home league game of 2019 on Saturday versus early-season front runners Medway, who are now third in the table.
“I can definitely say, having talked to the players, this support on the sidelines makes a huge difference. I look forward to seeing you all at Oaklands Park.”