Old Centralians: Preece praises his young guns ahead of derby
COACH Jack Preece reckons Old Cents' young legs puts them at an advantage ahead of Saturday's derby clash with league front-runners Lydney.
The Gloucester set-up host their first National Three South West match at Saintbridge following promotion through the play-offs last season.
Lydney powered past Old Patesians last Saturday, putting five tries past the Cheltenham outfit.
But, despite contrasting starts to the league campaign, Preece doesn't think this weekend's meeting should be billed as a David and Goliath affair after seeing his side put Chippenham to the sword at the set-piece.
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Cents lost out 22-17 at the Wiltshire club in last weekend's season opener, but are itching to take on their county rivals.
The 24-year-old said: "We've tried to build on our success last year. We had a good season so we can't change things.
"We've tried to keep it the same while improving on things that we may not be so good at.
"It's going to be our first game against Lydney and I think they have recruited a lot so it's going to be a difficult game.
"But you never know because it is our local derby – anything can happen.
"The good thing is that our boys are young and they are keen – that's the advantage we've got."
Preece praised his pack despite his team sinking to defeat following a last-gasp try away to Chippenham.
And on first observation, he expects the Old Cents scrum to become a potent weapon this season.
"Our pack has been good so we should play off the scrum and lineout a bit more," continued the Rotherham Titans flanker.
"We've focused on a lot of scrummaging pre-season especially with the new laws and we've been watching the British and Irish Lions so we thought let's go all-out for the scrum.
"We probably could have got a try if we did more but it's another learning curve, at least we can keep working on that.
"Everybody goes to the gym every day and I think that's why we've done so well in the past few years, nobody has let anybody down.
"We went in with a game plan but it's a shame we didn't have two of our backs from the back line.
"We missed key players in our backline on Saturday but there are no excuses."
Last season's top try-scorer, 21-year-old Liam Hemmings and 22-year-old centre Ryan Townsend are both playing out summer contracts in Australia.
"That's good for the club," added Preece.
"They have been out there playing for Perth and they keep pushing players to play a higher level of rugby.
"We can't hold them back because it's a great experience and it's great for the club.
"We should be pushing players to go and play in places like that and it gives everybody else a better mentality to train harder.
"Hopefully they will come back, finish the season with us and look to play higher. They should do."