Boxer’s optimistic UCS Old Boys will beat the drop after first win in five games

Inside centre Gwyn Edwards (left) breaks away to score the first of UCS's two tries on Saturday. Pic

Inside centre Gwyn Edwards (left) breaks away to score the first of UCS's two tries on Saturday. Picture: Nick Cook - Credit: Archant

Director of rugby Geoff Boxer is optimistic UCS Old Boys will avoid relegation in Herts/Middlesex Division One after the basement boys secured their first win in five games on Saturday and closed in on the sides above them.

The availability of a key quartet – Dan Stewart, Christian Henk, Mert Zabci and Gwyn Edwards – boosted the Old Boys’ prospects and tries from Edwards and Nathaniel Breakwell, which were both converted by Stewart, ensured the Old Boys beat Saracens Amateurs 14-8 and made a positive start to 2017.

While they remain bottom of the table, in the sole relegation spot, UCS are now just one point behind Wasps, and Boxer told Ham&High Sport: “I think people will be looking at us thinking ‘hang on, they’re not gone yet’.

“Clearly there are winnable games for us against Barnet Elizabethans, Hendon and Wasps. If we win those three then we should stay up.

“There’s absolutely no reason why not, depending on injuries and availability, but we’re certainly in better shape than we were before Christmas.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries this year but Will Jones is a very good player and he’s coming back next week, so there’s plenty of optimism around even though it’s a tough season.

“Unless we get our full first-team out with their experience, we struggle, and on Saturday we had four players who are highly influential and that makes a huge difference.

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“You start to see the younger players – who actually will be very good players – start to play a little bit better, when they have the quality around them.

“This week we’ve got a very hard game away against Verulamians, who are second, but from those games you hope to gain a bit more confidence.

“If we don’t win the game you’d hope we can get a bonus point. Those things in the end might make quite a big difference.

“But for me the club is about where we’re going, and on Saturday our second-team squad contained seven schoolboys who are 17 or 18 years old. So there are a lot of players coming through. We’ll be fine, we’re in good shape.”