Confident players do not fear Hogg’s title claims

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Bury St Edmunds captain Chris Snelling insists his 
teammates can back up 
director of rugby Gavin 
Hogg’s title claims.

A confident Hogg told the Free Press last week he believed his side could go all the way and win the National Three London and South East title after a stunning 47-17 triumph at London Irish Wild Geese.

Bury followed that up by thrashing Civil Service (CS) Rugby 1863 52-5 at The Haberden on Saturday and Snelling admitted Hogg’s statement is something his side know anyway.

“We are all confident,” said the skipper ahead of a overseas trip to Guernsey tomorrow (3pm).

“We know we’re good enough to do it — especially after such a great performance at London Irish Wild Geese the week before.

“To win this league, you have got to be consistent, so those performances week in, week out will take us higher.

“When we play our best rugby, we will beat anyone in the league — we really believe that — it’s just a case of making sure we better ourselves every week.”

A similar 18-man squad to the one that beat CS on 
Saturday will face Guernsey tomorrow, with ex-Leicester Tigers forward Josh Goldspink suspended and second-row men Aaron Waters (broken ankle) and Tim Young (ribs) injured.

Looking ahead to that match, Snelling added: “Guernsey is always a tough place to go — we found that out last year.

“To fly over and make a weekend of it tests all teams’ professionalism and preparation because it’s always challenging.”

It took Bury just four minutes to break through when Jesse Rush’s pinpoint kick and Matt Edison’s steal at the lineout ended with debutant Greg White strolling in behind the posts.

Michael Sage stretched the lead to 7-0 with his boot and, after Rush and Ashleigh Stevenson-Leigh knocked on just in front of the posts, Bury doubled their try tally in the 15th minute.

Kieran Black showed great awareness to hand the ball off to Sage in the tackle and the full-back touched down, and a third try was added shortly after when a stumbling Sage fed the final pass to Snelling, who crossed the line.

Sage made it 19-0 with the conversion, and a bonus point was earned for Bury’s fourth try with the last play of the first half when White flighted a long pass to the left wing that Tristan Rawcliffe gratefully received to go over in the corner.

CS pulled five points back 12 minutes into the second half when substitute Tom Devereux managed to ground the ball in the left corner.

After a barren spell, Bury finally reasserted their dominance from a five-metre scrum in front of the posts when Scott Lewis set up Black for a simple score, converted by Sage.

The kicker showed his turn of pace seconds later to race down the left and round behind the posts for another converted try and the hosts’ superior fitness told in the closing stages.

Edison made life difficult for himself when cutting inside seven minutes from time, but still had enough strength to place the ball down despite being held on to by three defenders.

An error at a CS scrum allowed Nick Sykes to pick the ball up, race away from halfway and dive under the posts with three visiting players in close pursuit two minutes from time.

Sage took his day’s points tally to 22 and that was the end of the scoring as the referee’s whistle blew on a 52-5 result.

Bury: Adams, Gibson, Birrell, Bixby, Stevenson-Leigh, Sykes, Black, Edison, Lewis, Rush, Snelling, White, Meyers, Rawcliffe, Sage. Subs: Kivalu, Precious, Samoa.