Old Boys target invincibility

Key man: Winger Gareth Stoppani has been in fine form for KCS, scoring nine tries this season already

Key man: Winger Gareth Stoppani has been in fine form for KCS, scoring nine tries this season already

First published in Other Rugby Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

Out of 123 teams in the 10 London rugby divisions, only three can still boast a 100 per cent record.
 

Unsurprisingly Harrow and Gosport & Fareham top their respective tables, but the other, New Malden-based KCS Old Boys, remain second in London Division Three South West.
 

And even if the Old Boys beat leaders Farnham on the road this weekend, they may still not hit the summit due to the host’s far superior bonus points.
 

Old Boys have struggled of late to rack up the big scores, bagging only 50 points in the past three games, while Farnham have scored 149.
 

But for skipper Patrick Smith, finishing top is not the ultimate aim because  his side’s 21-point advantage over third-placed Ellingham & Ringwood should ensure automatic promotion as runner up.
 

“We’re in an odd scenario, being unbeaten but not top of the table, but it is OK with us,” Smith said.
 

“We really want to beat Farnham, but not with the hope of going top, more because we want to complete the season unbeaten. That is the bigger challenge.
 

“We were relegated last season with the highest points of anyone in the country, which was very frustrating, so in reality we can only be pleased with how things have gone this time round.”
 

The 31-year-old presided over  that relegation in his first year as skipper, although he rarely played due to a shoulder injury.
 

Smith has missed just two of their 14 outings this term, so has seen the turnaround first hand.
 

“We brought in a few new faces, and a lot of guys are back from university and able to commit to the club more than before,” he said.
 

“We have a core of 23 to 24-year-olds who all went
to school together, which makes for a great club atmosphere.
 

“It’s not bad considering the competition we have in the area – within five or six miles there are about 20 rugby clubs they could join.”
 

Smith is quick to point out success this season is down to the team, but singled out full back Gareth Stoppani, right, and front row Jonny Kiddle as key.
 

“Stoppani has only played six games because of injury, but  has scored nine tries,” he added.
 

“Our front row has been immense and luckily we have six props, but Kiddle has been the man.”

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