Fylde RFC will prepare as normal for the new season

Fylde RFC are keeping faith in their normal pre-season programme ahead of a return to league rugby in September, even though the 2020/21 season was a total write-off.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 12:30 pm

All attempts to play any fixtures last season were thwarted by the pandemic, including two friendlies against Blackburn scheduled for late May.

It was suggested that clubs like Fylde, heading into 2021/22 without any competitive action for 18 months, would require a more intense pre-season, possibly with extra warm-up games.

However, Fylde have had two months’ training since lockdown restrictions were eased at the end of March and staged an in-house game at the Woodlands on May 29 between players from the first and second XV squads.

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Fylde RFC's joint-head coach Alex Loney Picture: Chris Farrow

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On the back of that, Fylde are happy to plan a normal pre-season programme before their National Two North campaign gets underway at Tynedale on September 4.

Joint-head coach Alex Loney spoke to The Gazette after the in-house game and said: “We’ll have four weeks off now and then the formal pre-season will start.

“It’s a bit tricky because a lot of the lads are raring to go but we don’t want to train continuously through the summer.

“We’ll come back at the end of the month for a block of four weeks, then have a week off and go again, building up to the start of the season in September.

“We will have two pre-season games in August as normal. It’s a bit of an unknown, and I know other clubs are looking at different models and possibly more pre-season games.

“Because we’ve had this period of training since lockdown ended, we feel we can keep it fairly normal.

“It will be a demanding 30-game season, so we want a normal preparation.”

Off the field, Fylde have announced a partnership with leading international sportswear company O’Neills.

The agreement will involve the provision of kit throughout the club, from the first XV to the mini-juniors.

Fylde business lead, Mike Davies, said: “We’re really looking forward to working with O’Neills in a mutually beneficial partnership.

“They know rugby union extremely well after 100 years in the sportswear business and have been chosen by clubs globally as principal suppliers.

“From the Brumbies and Western Force in Australia to many clubs in the UK, including the Premiership’s Worcester Warriors and National Two North friends and rivals Chester and Huddersfield, they are a powerful company with an international reach.

“As Fylde RFC enters its 102nd year, we believe O’Neills will help strengthen our presence as a strong brand in English rugby.”

O’Neills UK direct sales manager, Paul Berry, added: “O’Neills Sportswear are really excited about partnering with Fylde RFC for at least the next four seasons.

“We are delighted to be chosen by Fylde RFC following a thorough evaluation process and are currently working alongside the club officials to finalise a new range of playing kit, leisurewear, training wear, merchandise and accessories to roll out very soon.”

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