The shackles are off at Newport
Director of rugby Bob Adams is urging Newport to release the shackles as they begin a new season tomorrow, writes Steve Box.
The Forton Road side start their Midlands Premier campaign at newly-promoted Kettering on the back of successive third-place finishes.
Adams believes his men were weighed down by expectation last year and is adopting a more low-key approach this time around.
“We felt our game was a bit flat and we put too much pressure on ourselves,” he said. “This year we will take it game by game.
“I think we had the favourites tag last year and never really replicated the season before, even though we finished in the same position.
“Bridgnorth and Bournville seem to be telling everyone about what they have done but that just puts added pressure on both of them.
“Our goals will be set privately, like they have been the other years. It will be a tough league but we want to play with a bit more freedom.
“I’m a believer that if we get our defence sorted then our attack is pretty good. We do score a lot of points and the last two seasons we have been close to being top scorers in the division.”
Adams, who confirmed the club are still searching for a first-team manager to replace Phil Gittus, has been busy during the summer adding to the squad. The recruitment drive is into double figures led by the former Sale winger Sam Evans and fly-half Benny Elliott from Sandbach, while prolific try-scorer Henry Vaka has been released.
“There’s some players who have great experience and who have played at a higher level,” added Adams.
“We have had a few leave and others come in and it’s a slightly different squad this year.
“We were looking to freshen things up anyway, we felt there was a little bit of complacency crept into our game last year.
“There’s still two or three players that we are negotiating with and hopefully they will arrive mid-September.”
“There’s a couple of young lads who have come in and done well in pre-season.
“We have strengthened our front row and the area we are still looking at is to get another second rower.
“We are quite excited about what we are seeing, although we are probably two or three weeks behind where we would like to be.”
Kettering came up as Midlands One East champions and Adams admits they will provide a tough opening-day test.
He added: “It will be a tough start facing a side who has come up and will be looking to prove themselves at this level.”