UCS Old Boys chief believes returning players can guide club to safety

UCS Old Boys centre Matt Jacobs (right) is on his way back from injury. Pic: Nick Cook/UCS Old Boys

UCS Old Boys centre Matt Jacobs (right) is on his way back from injury. Pic: Nick Cook/UCS Old Boys - Credit: Archant

Director of rugby Geoff Boxer believes the return of key figures will bring about a change in fortunes after UCS Old Boys’ fifth straight defeat.

The Old Boys were given a lesson in clinical finishing on Saturday as title-chasing Grasshoppers ran in six tries to win 38-0 in London North-West Division Three.

Two sides at opposite ends of the league shared an equal amount of territory and possession, but a combination of the visitors’ poor decision-making and lack of confidence meant they were defeated.

UCS remain two points outside the bottom two after winning just four of their 14 games – but Boxer is hopeful that the Ranulf Road club will stave off relegation when they are back at full strength.

“We’re hoping for a strong end to the season,” Boxer told Ham&High Sport. “We need to win two or three games to stay up. Our centre Matt Jacobs is coming back, as is Dan Stewart and Tim Sydor, so I’m confident we can turn things around.

“We’re currently going backwards rather than forwards as a result of a few experienced players leaving the club or retiring this season. That has made things difficult for us, and consequently we have players in the first team who would normally be in the twos.

“At first-team level you need a bit of pace and fitness to cope with these sides, but in terms of spirit, there is nothing wrong with the side.”

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UCS couldn’t have had a worse start on Saturday, conceding a try after two minutes. They dominated the next 20 minutes but made the wrong decisions in front of the posts, failing to reduce the deficit – and Grasshoppers made them pay the ultimate price after an attempt to run the ball resulted in an interception and a try at the other end.

With the Old Boys trailing 12-0 at the break, the game was over as a contest within 10 minutes of the restart after two further tries for the hosts – and then two more in the dying stages.

UCS are next in league action a week on Saturday at home to Finchley, who are one place and five points above them.