Smart salutes the sterling work of Cinderford's improving pack
CONDITIONS will be perfect for the rolling maul to dominate the visit of National One high-fliers Rosslyn Park tomorrow, believes Cinderford prop Joe Smart.
When the two sides met in a sun-drenched encounter in September, former Wasps number eight Hugo Ellis grabbed two of Park's three catch-and-drive scores.
Since that pulsating 36-36 draw, the Foresters' forwards have doubled their efforts with hooker Tom Bozzard becoming joint top try scorer, clear evidence of their hard work.
After getting on the scoresheet himself against Sedgley Park in November, Smart is backing the pack to continue their good displays on a muddy Dockham Road pitch.
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"Tom has scored a lot of tries this season but they are all pack tries, which he won't like me saying," said Smart.
"The pack work very hard for the driving maul tries and that is what a lot of his tries have come from.
"He picks them up at the back of the driving lineout, but they all count.
"You can tell that he used to be a seven, but now he is definitely a hooker because he is stealing all the tries.
"He has learned to hang around at the back of the maul pretending to be working as hard as the rest of us!
"But we are definitely improving a lot every week and the forwards have done really well in the last few weeks."
Smart and Bozzard both put Cinderford's improvement in the set piece down to hard work and a few pointers from Gloucester front-row forward Nick Wood at a one-off training session.
Park have had a bit of a wobble recently, winning two out of their last five matches to sit seven points off top in third place.
Andy Deacon's men have lost their past three games and will be looking to kick on in the new year after dropping to ninth.
With the recent downpours making the Mary Beavis Memorial Ground pitch quite heavy, Smart said their pack will help get them back on track.
"The driving maul has gone very well and since we had a training session with Nick Wood it has improved a 100 fold," added Smart.
"The forwards are playing really well and the set phases are improving every week and if we can get focused at the scrum and lineout then we tend to have a good day.
"The main thing is it was all mental because if we got there and we concentrated on our jobs individually and as a group as a collective eight then we would have a very good solid pack."
â Cinderford have strengthened their pack with the signing of Gloucester back rower Rob Langley on dual registration.
The 21-year-old is the latest Cherry and Whites player to join the Foresters after scrum-half Dave Lewis and promising prop Tom Heard.
Director of rugby Andy Deacon says it is a good chance for Langley to push for selection at Gloucester while also helping Cinderford do well.
"We welcome Rob to the squad who started training with us this week with the hope he can gain valuable game time at Cinderford and further strengthen the depth in our forward pack," said Deacon.
"Having players join us from Gloucester Rugby is always a positive boost to our team."