Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club will have an extra-special visitor in the crowd when they look to get back to winning ways tomorrow (3pm).
England’s most-capped player and 2003 World Cup winner Jason Leonard will visit the National Three London and South East promotion-chasers in his role as president-elect of the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
And Bury — who will be presented with their renewed RFU accreditation by Leonard for meeting a set standard of on-field play and off-pitch governance — are hoping his presence will inspire them to a much-needed victory over visiting Barnes.
Bury chairman Mike Robinson, who confirmed Leonard would be free to sign autographs during his visit, said: “He is one of the most recognisable players in the modern history of the game and someone who has achieved pretty much more than anybody else, so we are very honoured to have him at the club.”
Head coach Gavin Hogg added there has been ‘a buzz’ around The Haberden all week as his side look forward to Leonard’s visit and try to end a run of back-to-back defeats.
Since hitting the top of the table with victory at former leaders Westcombe Park, Bury’s form has faltered against East Grinstead and Chichester — particularly during the second half of matches — and they find themselves in third, seven points behind table- topping London Irish Wild Geese ahead of tomorrow’s encounter.
“We’ve been disappointed with two losses and we don’t want to suddenly turn that into three or four going into the Christmas period,” said Hogg, who will be without former skipper Matt Edison (wedding) tomorrow but welcomes back captain Chris Snelling (wedding) and kicking forward Brad Cook (illness).
Although London Irish Wild Geese have opened up a five-point lead at the summit, just seven points separate the next six sides vying for the play-off spot in second.