Bury St Edmunds must ‘get back to basics’ in a bid to improve — despite stretching their winning run in 2015 to seven matches.
That is the view of director of rugby Gavin Hogg, whose side required a late Sam Bixby try to edge past Tonbridge Juddians on Saturday and avoid their first defeat since December.
With the visit of former table-toppers Westcombe Park today (Saturday, 3pm) starting a tough five-game title run-in, Hogg knows his side will come unstuck sooner or later if they do not improve.
“We’re very realistic, so know that if we turn up over the next few weeks with that level of performance we will slip up somewhere, so we have to raise the bar,” said Hogg. “We have to make sure we take care of our own performance – we know we are capable of being the best side in the league.”
Since Bury won at tomorrow’s opponents – and then leaders – Westcombe Park to go top on November 15, the two sides have had contrasting fortunes.
The Suffolk side have won eight of their 11 matches since then to sit at the summit, while Westcombe have slipped to sixth with just four victories during that spell.
“That was the start of what is turning out to be a pretty average season for them,” said Hogg. “They have fallen away, but we have pushed on and tried to maintain that momentum.
“But it will be another chance for a side to come up here and put a spanner in the works for us.”
Jesse Rush should return to fly-half after being rested at Tonbridge, while Greg White is set to return at centre alongside Tim Mann.
With Brad Cook and Connor Adams back in action for the Wolfhounds – Bury’s second string – their only injury concern is scrum-half Simon Sexton, who is set for a fortnight on the sidelines after a recurrence of a knee problem suffered last year.
Matt Jones and James Stevenson-Wright are in contention for Sexton’s number nine shirt.
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* Bury St Edmunds’ Tom Brown, 15, could be in line to make his debut for Wales after being added to the Welsh under-16s’ squad.
The Culford rugby scholar — who has turned out for youth sides at Bury, Northampton Saints and Welsh Exiles — will train with Wales with the hope of making the final cut for their next set of fixtures.
Culford’s director of rugby Mark Bolton described Brown as having ‘a great all-round skill set; only 15 but very physical and a big-game player’.