It’s been a quiet few weeks for rugby fans. The Irish series win in New Zealand coincided with Wimbledon. Eddie Jones’ England team triumphing in Australia happened before the heatwave and whilst Boris was still Prime Minister. Surely it must be time for some live action?
Fear not. Taunton Titans is gearing up for the National League One season with three mouth-watering August friendly fixtures. First upon Saturday 13t is a short away trip to Clifton. The Bristolians are familiar foes from National League Two South where, having finished third last season, they must harbour genuine hopes of promotion this term. Coached by ex-Bristol captain Matt Salter and with former All Black Bruce Reihana running their skills and attack, Clifton will be no pushovers at their Station Road ground, just off the M5 in Cribbs Causeway.
The first pre-season action at Veritas Park will see the visit of high-flying Championship side, the Cornish Pirates on Saturday 20t.It’s been a few years since the teams met and the Cornishmen triumphed by a cricket score on that occasion but the gap between the sides has narrowed with Taunton now able to lay claim to being the third-highest ranked South-West club behind only Exeter and Pirates. That said, the men from the Mennaye Field finished third in the Championship last season and famously beat Saracens when the former European champions were relegated from the Premiership. The Titans-Pirates clash will be preceded by Taunton’s 2 XV taking on Devonian neighbours Crediton.
Tickets are available at just £10 for adults with U16 Free with parking an extra £5. This first home fixture of the season marks the return of the legendary pre-match carvery (£20 per person) which can be booked directly with Taunton RFC - 01823 336363 or email@example.com whilst Proper Cornish pasties will be available throughout.
Finally, on Friday 26th, the Titans cross the Prince of Wales Bridge for the traditional pre-season encounter with Cardiff Met University. Steeped in rugby tradition, it is the alma mater of such all-time greats as Gareth Edwards and JJ Williams as well as current internationals Alex Cuthbert and Alex Dombrandt. Well-supported by their fellow students, Cardiff Met always present a physical challenge and will want to prepare for their Welsh Championship season.
Boasting new title sponsors in British Gas, Taunton Titans is aiming to finish higher than the 8t place achieved in their debut season in National League One. The three pre-season fixtures will allow coach Tony Yapp to run the rule over both his returning players and new recruits including flanker Charlie Walker-Blair who previously played for Taunton in 2008 joining from Sale Sharks. Another new addition is loose head prop Will Vaughn who has featured in the Premiership for Bath whilst having fan favourites Freddie Fraser and Connor Baker back to fitness after long-term injuries will feel like new signings.
Taunton RFC has joined with Future Ticketing to make securing match tickets much easier. Visit https://www.tauntonrfc.co.uk/membership to book your ticket and parking.