Jim Williams hopeful of ‘Greater’ Sydney Rams in 2015
Former Wallaby Jim Williams will coach the Greater Sydney Rams in this year’s National Rugby Championship and has grand plans for the foundation club, both on and off the field.
The Rams fell just one competition point short of qualifying for last year’s finals, but will be far better prepared heading into 2015, according to Williams.
“It’s a competition that was rushed in last year and from that side of things we are looking forward to being a bit more settled heading into this season,” Williams told Rugby News.
“Having two of your catchment teams (Eastwood and Southern Districts) in a grand final the week before the competition started didn’t make things easy last year,” he added.
Williams said the Rams have a contingency plan in place in case a similar situation occurs later this year, with the 14 test international keeping a close eye on all five Shute Shield feeder clubs.
“West Harbour are starting to do well and Parramatta have had some really good performances against some really strong opposition, like Sydney Uni and Manly, so there is a big pool to pick from.”
Southern Districts skipper Jed Holloway will lead the Rams again in 2015, with the remainder of the squad to be announced in the coming weeks.
“We are always going to be a bit behind the Super Rugby franchises, but we are really getting our teeth stuck into it now and are signing some really quality players.”
Competing in Australia’s toughest sporting market, the Rams are well aware of the challenges they face in Western Sydney and will look to build off the success of the GWS Giants and the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Whilst Williams said he understands the importance of interaction at the grassroots level, he thinks the quickest way to build a presence in the region is to be successful on the field.
“We are looking to get into the finals this year,” he said.
“If we can settle on the type of footy we want to play and best utilise the players that we’ve got, then I think we’ll be right in contention to play in those finals.”
On the back of that on field success, Williams thinks the Rams can play a crucial role in helping the sport grow throughout the greater Sydney region.
“We need to tap into the Pacific Island and Indigenous communities and create an avenue for people to get involved in rugby. Other codes are doing it, so we need to promote the game and help it grow.”
The Rams will take their four home games to different venues in 2015, playing matches at Merrylands, Southern Districts, Concord and Parramatta.
“It’s really exciting to be able to do that this year and I think it’ll really help us connect with our fans and help grow rugby right around Sydney.”
The 2015 NRC draw will be released at 9pm tonight.