Rosslyn Park head coach Jan Bonney is preparing his troops for a tough fortnight in National League One, and he said the excitement levels at Priory Lane are sky-high.
Park, currently second in the table, travel to third-placed Blaydon this weekend, before hosting leaders Ealing Trailfinders on December 22.
Bonney’s men go into the vital games in high spirits after returning from a two-week break to beat Old Albanians 36-19.
OAs were unbeaten in five games, including a 31-25 win over Ealing, but tries from Dan Richmond, Jack Gash and Charles Broughton – plus 21 points off the impressive boot of Sam Katz – put them to the sword.
“It was a reasonably comfortable win and we were in control of the game for most of the time, but it was a shame we could not get that fourth try,” said Bonney.
“OAs are a team that, on their day, can beat anyone and we had to be careful.”
He added: “We will have to change our approach for the trip to Blaydon, where the weather can be part of the tough challenge.
“Blaydon have a tough pack at home and they have only lost once there all season, so it is going to be a difficult game. The Ealing game will also be tough.
“But these are exciting times for us, to be involved in such big games is a great feeling and I would much rather be going to Blaydon looking to open a gap at the top of the table rather than closing one at the bottom.
“Everyone wants to play their part. Everyone is exciting about playing for Park, which for me is great.”
Park are still without captain Darrell Ball with a broken arm, and fly-half Ross Laidlaw, who is nursing a back injury.
However, fly-half replacement Katz, who has kicked 72 points in the five games since Laidlaw’s injury ruled him out in October, is coming in for heavy praise from Bonney.
“Sam played for Loughborough Students last season and he has come here and shown just how good he is,” Bonney said.
“Competition for places here is fierce and when you get a chance, you have to take it, which is exactly what Sam has done.”
After the top of the table double header, Park go into the winter break, returning on January 5 at Cinderford.