There’s cause for optimism at Rosslyn Park this season according to their Head of Rugby.

With a new coaching set up, new facilities, shrewd player recruitment, and an impressive season opening 36-29 win at Cinderford, Donnie Masters believes the National League One club are heading in the right direction.

“I’d be disappointed if we weren’t competing for top 6 this year, and I’d be very disappointed if we were in a relegation battle like last year,” Masters said referencing their 12th placed finish last season.

“We certainly have better personnel and depth than last year.”

Looking at the summer influx including former England internationals Jordan Turner Hall and Paul Doran Jones, French centre Nicolas Nieto and former Western Force second row Rory Walton, Masters is not wrong.

“We now have a lot more experience, and the big thing is that we are not raiding the coughers, we’ve been building a 4G pitch, a new gym, we’ve bought in some brilliant new coaches, we have a very talented and attractive set up.”

“It helps having Jon Mills (Forwards Coach) and Jordan Turner Hall in the ranks, they have a lot of connections and there is a lot of love for them. They’re a huge magnet for some of the talent.”

Aware that most teams in the league strengthened, Park won’t be taking any game for granted as they look to build on their first half performance against Cinderford where they impressed until injuries to half-back pairing Ben Williams and Greg Lound disrupted the back line.

“It was the proverbial game of two halves. We started comfortably and were in total control of the game.”

“A couple of mistakes cost us and momentum swung a little but fortunately we managed to grind out the win.

“We look to emulate our first half, stay tight, patient, look after the ball, build through phases, get over the gain line and earn the right to go wide.”

After being beaten by this Saturday’s opponents Bishops Stortford at home last season, Masters was weary of the threat they pose.

“Pound for pound they were the most physical side we played at home.

“They’re a proper rugby club, I have a huge amount of respect for them, it’s the sum of the parts with them, they are a team.

“I expect it to be physical, and if we make mistakes and give them opportunities they’ll bite our hands off and take it.”

Stortford will be looking to bounce back from their narrow 21-16 defeat to much fancied Darlington Mowden Park in their opening fixture.

Rosslyn Park v Bishop Stortford  - The Rock. Kick off 3pm