'We are prepared for new season'
HARTPURY head coach John Barnes will want to get one over his old club Clifton in their National Two South curtain-raiser tomorrow.
Barnes scored 1,650 points in his ten-year spell at the Bristol outfit and leads his side into their second season in the fourth tier of English rugby.
After two tough pre-season games against Ealing and Cinderford, Barnes is looking to get off to the best start possible and better last year's fourth-place finish.
"You have to put personal feelings to one side in games like this," said former Clifton fly-half Barnes.
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"Obviously, I know a lot of the coaches and players well.
"I'd like to win personally, but for me it's more important that we play well and get off to a winning start as a team, especially away from home.
"Our pre-season has gone well.
"It's been tough, though, since the boys have come back.
"They've had to work hard in training and two tough pre-season games have helped us build towards the new season.
"Ealing are going to be one of the top teams in National One this year.
"They're one of the most offensive teams in the league so it was a good way for us to test our defence against one of the best attacking teams in the National divisions.
"Cinderford was a tough derby game with a few ex-Hartpury boys and a good test for us going into this season."
In their first season in National Two South, the highest in their short history, Hartpury were thrown in at the deep end with a trip to former Premiership side Richmond.
Hartpury lost 30-21 in their first game of the season and Richmond went on to win promotion to National One.
After Hartpury racked up 100 points in the league last season, Barnes does not want to get carried away and wants to start afresh this year.
"It's always difficult being a college. You lose a lot of players at the end of each campaign who go on to further their rugby careers," added Barnes.
"It takes time for the new boys to understand the way we play but they have all done really well since coming in. The pre-season games have helped and I feel we'll be ready for tomorrow.
"Ideally we just want to challenge week-in, week-out so we'll take it game by game and see how we stand after five or six games and take it from there."