Barker looking to match Newington’s physicality in CAS/GPS rivalry clash

Barker will need to match Newington’s physicality if they are to continue their winning start to 2021, according to first XV coach Dean Hargreaves.

After opening their campaign with an impressive 45-5 win over Stannies last Saturday, Barker will host Newington this weekend in their first of four matches against GPS schools.

“As always, they’ll be really physical and they’ve got some athletic and powerful kids across the park. It’ll be a tough test,” Hargreaves told Rugby News.

“We’ll need to get up off the line and put pressure on defensively. We can’t give them excessive time and space.

“In attack, we want to play eyes up football because there will definitely be opportunities there. We just need to be smart enough to identify them and then make the most of them.”

Seven seperate players crossed the line in Barker’s opening weekend seven try victory over Stannies and while Hargearves was pleased with the opening hit out, he acknowledged they’ll need to improve to beat Newington this weekend.

“I thought we created opportunities well with our ball carrying,” the coach said.

“We probably need to improve our decision making on the back of those opportunities though but we’re creating them at least, which is good to see at this stage of the year.

“Our scrum was good, our tackling was good, it was a positive start.”

A one point loss to Waverley in round two last season ended Barker’s dream of a third straight CAS premiership.

Hargreaves seemed optimistic that his side could challenge for the CAS title again this season and said a physical clash against Newington was ideal preparation for the tough season ahead.

“They’ve got some really strong ball runners and they are a big physical, confrontational team, which is great for us.

“They’ll probably try to use their physicality and then play off the back of a few of their key players. They’ve got a very good No.6 and No.13, they are strong ball runners and they rely on those boys quite a bit, so we’ll need to watch them.

We play to win each week but we also want to try things and grow as a team – so it’s a bit of a balancing act

“We’re certainly keen on a good result but we also know there are bigger things to come.

“In saying that, we won’t be holding anything back on Saturday.”