Smith sets out long-term target
8:11am Fri Jul 26, 2013
New Newark Rugby Club head coach Nathan Smith is hoping to put his side at the top of the Notts, Lincs, and Derbys table after taking over from Bob Nashed this summer.
Smith, who works with the RFU, has spoken of his excitement at taking over at Newark, and believes the club can achieve promotion to the National Division Three in the long-term.
This season, Smith is targeting finishing above other NLD teams, which includes relegated sides Mansfield and Derby, as well as Paviours, Matlock, and Ilkeston, who all finished last season above Newark.
The former Nottingham Moderns boss told the Advertiser: “Aside from Nottingham, Newark has the best facilities to offer of the NLD teams, and it’s also got a great history.
“There is an opportunity now for a community club to really make their mark on the area and I see no reason why that can’t be Newark.
“We’ve got hard-working people here, that’s been very clear to me although I haven’t been here too long yet so the ball is really in the players’ court now.
“Getting to the league above is a realistic target long-term.”
Since formally taking over in early July, Smith said he is excited by the energy which the players have brought to pre-season training.
After a month of upheaval, which has seen Nashed depart the club after five years and Chris Tate step down as captain after two years to be replaced by Matt Clark, Smith will not be making robust changes to the way Newark have played previously.
He said: “A lot of coaches come in and say ‘this is how I want you to play,’ but in many cases they haven’t got the personnel to achieve that.
“Bob [Nashed] did a tremendous job and it’s just about changing a few ideas, I want to find 15-20 things that we can improve 3-4% on.
“I will be looking at the players to see what strengths and qualities they’ve got and then we’ll build around that.
“We are going to have to be really fit, and I want teams to have to give it 100% if we are going to get beaten.”
Another factor which Smith believes will make a positive difference to Newark are the fans and the support the team gets on match-day.
“Kelham Road can be an intimidating place to come to as an away team with a lot of fans shouting and they’re very close to the pitch,” he said.
“The support is outstanding, I think Newark is the best supported club in the NLD area.”
The club have a friendly against Midlands 2 side Market Bosworth on August 22, before a cup clash with local rivals Southwell on August 31, and Smith can’t wait to get his team out on the pitch to test what they have been practising on.
He said: “It’s been a very interesting summer so far and I’m really looking forward to the season starting up.
“The players have been great in training so far, especially given the warm weather, and I think we’ve got an exciting season ahead.”
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