Daniels eyeing Irish challenge
Luke Daniels has his focus firmly set on two big clashes early in the coming 2016-17 Greene King IPA Championship season.
Ealing Trailfinders open their campaign at home to Yorkshire Carnegie on 3 September and then round off the match against London Irish at the Majeski Stadium, both fixtures which give Daniels the chance to test himself against two of the biggest names in the division.
“I’m really looking forward to playing London Irish because they come down from the Premiership,” Daniels said.
“It will be good to see what they have to offer and the opening game of the season against Yorkshire Carnegie at home, they are the two I’m looking forward to the most.”
London Irish provide the opposition in one of four London-derbies this season and Ben Ward’s team will also take on London Scottish, London Welsh and Richmond.
Last season Ealing Trailfinders defeated Scots and Welsh away, with Daniels scoring one of the tries against the Scots in a 28-26 victory at the Athletic Ground on Boxing Day.
The aim is for the team to have more days of the kind that they enjoyed across Kew Bridge to ensure they don’t become embroiled in a relegation scrap again.
“It’s really good for the club and hopefully we get some bigger crowds in here,” he said. “It’s always nice playing a derby and you know you’ve got that more personal battle against a local London team.
“Last season was a bit disappointing for us, we didn’t want to be in that relegation battle, so just going forward, we need a good pre-season and a good start to the season and go from there, but mid-table isn’t too much to ask and with the squad we have that is quite a realistic goal as a team.”
For the moment Daniels and the rest of the team are now six weeks into their pre-season programme and beginning to think of the first of their pre-season matches, away to Coventry on 13 August.
A week later they take on a Newport Gwent-Dragons Development XV, before rounding off preparations for the new season against Hartpury College on 27 August.
“As a team it’s going very well,” Daniels said. “We’re starting to get into a bit more rugby-based training. They (new players) all come from good Championship or Premiership clubs, so they know the deal.
“Everyone is learning the new structures and that’s going really well. The new players are gelling really well with the older boys.”