Welwyn coach Riley confident of future

PUBLISHED: 14:31 18 February 2009 | UPDATED: 21:36 26 October 2009

Welwyn head coach Andy Riley, right, with New Zealand star rugby player Dan Carter

Welwyn head coach Andy Riley, right, with New Zealand star rugby player Dan Carter

WELWYN head coach Andy Riley is feeling positive as he looks to a successful and consistent future at Hobbs Way. The London 2 North side have experienced a somewhat difficult campaign on the field so far, with just one win from their 16 games played and 1

WELWYN head coach Andy Riley is feeling positive as he looks to a successful and consistent future at Hobbs Way.

The London 2 North side have experienced a somewhat difficult campaign on the field so far, with just one win from their 16 games played and 15 losses.

However, Riley, who turned out for the club from 1987-2001, believes at present it is work in progress, and a number of factors have come into play this season.

"We're paying the price for a slow start, and when I came to the club at the start of the season I think we were still six weeks behind where we should have been," said Riley.

"I think a slow pre-season didn't help, and by the time we started getting things up to standard, confidence began to go.

"We have also had a lot of injuries this season, and had to put a lot of youngsters in at times, so it has been tough."

With the league restructuring, Riley's side are now safe from relegation. However, there is plenty to look forward to in the 2009/2010 campaign.

Riley added: "The fact there is no relegation is a slight positive; a stay of execution. It's fair to say if there had have been relegation, we would have gone down.

"But I think the side will be better prepared for next season.

"In terms of the future, we have blooded a few young ones and they will have picked up good experience.

"In a way, the pressure is off, and I want the lads to give it a go out there and try and perform well.

"We having nothing to lose so I want to go out there and enjoy our rugby."

The former Welwyn prop was given the top job when South African Joe Duignam left the club just before season opener against Stevenage Town, which Town won 24-14.

Since then it has been a struggle for Riley to get consistency in his line-up, as well as having to blend together the side in the wake of players leaving in the close season.

The Hobbs Way side's only win this season was away at Westcliff; triumphing 19-12.

Yet 40-year-old Riley believes one win could be the trigger for an upturn in fortunes.

He added: "It's very much psychological. We have got a bit of a task on our hands, but I think there are definitely some games we can win now till the end of the season.

"One game I am looking forward to is the home tie against Diss (to be played at Hobbs Way on March 14). I think we can get something there.

"At the end of the day, the fear was before the league re-structuring, that we would have nothing to play for, but now it's more like we have nothing to lose."

Welwyn have the chance of doing the double against Westcliff on Saturday with a home tie against the Essex side.

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