West of Scotland RFC ready to resume after festive break

West of Scotland will take on Strathmore in their first fixture of 2020 (pic: John Cameron)
West of Scotland will take on Strathmore in their first fixture of 2020 (pic: John Cameron)

West of Scotland will look to pick up where they left off when they resume their league campaign at home to Strathmore on Saturday.

After a difficult start to the season, West’s fortunes seemed to be picking up just when the season went into its four-week hibernation.

And while West head coach Gavin Blackburn wants to see his side finish in a respectable mid-table position this spring, he already has one eye on NEXT season, courtesy of the SRU’s revamp of the domestic game which comes into force after the 2020-21 campaign.

He explained: “Next season the SRU, in their infinite wisdom, are going to restructure the leagues again and we need to be in the top six of National 3 to stay in national league rugby.

“If we don’t get our house in order and get things right we could be playing regional rugby, which no-one wants.

“So next season we’ve got to finish in the top six, but we’ve got to start that process now. We’ve got make sure that guys who are with us are staying with us.”

The first half of the current season - which West ended in eighth place in the 12-team league with four wins and eight defeats from their 12 matches - has been marked by a rebuilding process Blackburn didn’t expect to have to undertake.

He said: “We had a poor start with a combination of people being unavailable and guys moving on, injuries and so on.

“We had a really good season last season, but certain players left and guys didn’t want to commit and it almost left us with a new team.

“Probably the past two or three performances have turned the corner for us. We’re finding a wee bit more consistency and probably the Christmas break came at the wrong time for us.

“We’ve got three or four guys playing who have been under-18s and have just come up to senior rugby. To be fair, it’s been hard on them because numbers being what they are they’ve had to play.

“We would have liked them to have been phased in and out, but testament to them, they’ve come in and done a really good job. It’s a very steep learning curve, but because of numbers and players not being available we had no option but to play them.”