First real test of the season lies in wait for Hogg’s Bury

BIG TEST: Gavin Hogg is eager for his side's match against Bishop's Stortford
BIG TEST: Gavin Hogg is eager for his side's match against Bishop's Stortford

Bury St Edmunds director of rugby Gavin Hogg believes his side will have to raise their game to come away with anything from tomorrow’s trip to highly-fancied Bishop’s Stortford (3pm)

The Wolfpack got their season off to a fairly comfortable winning start with a 30-10 home victory over Clifton on Saturday, but Hogg says they will have to take their performance up a level this weekend in what he thinks will be a good indicator of where they are at.

“They have been a top three side over the last three or four seasons and we know they are one of the sides who play the best brand of rugby in the league,” he said of tomorrow’s opponents.

“That will be a test for us, but hopefully it brings a bit of a challenge to us in terms of raising our game.

“We will be a week into the season and hopefully the boys take a bit of confidence from that.

“This is the level we want to be at and the type of challenges we want. It is always nice to get them early in the season and this will give us an indication of where we are at.”

Scrum-half Pierre Peres (ankle) and new fly-half Liam McBride (foot) are both hoping to recover from knocks in time to play.

Bury’s chief praised the defensive effort from Saturday’s performance as something which really pleased the coaching team.

“Our discipline in defence was particularly pleasing,” he said.

“In our pre-season games we have been conceding 20 penalties a game, which isn’t good enough.

“We always target single figures and we spoke to the guys before the game and that was something they managed to execute.”

New number eight Darren Gillespie was singled out for his eye-catching debut.

“He is not the biggest guy, but he is a very dynamic runner and he comes from a sevens background where he has played for Scotland,” said Hogg. “He is very confident with the ball in hand and one of those guys who has the ability to break a defensive line and make things happen.”