Hartpury RFC travel to Blackheath this weekend on the brink of creating history but Director of Rugby John Barnes is well aware they’ll have to win somewhere they’ve never won before to achieve a perfect season.
Barnes’ men travel to South East London in search of a 30th win in a row and a place in the history books but they will be searching for a win at a venue that has so far eluded them.
“Blackheath is a place we’ve never won, so we’ll be looking to bury that bogey. There’s is no doubt that they’ll be really up for spoiling our party and stopping our unbeaten season,” Barnes said.
“We’re all really looking forward to the last game of the season and to finish it off with a win would be an absolutely amazing achievement. We’ve obviously already secured the league title but to go through the season having won every game is not something that many teams can say they’ve done.”
Victory this weekend could see Hartpury – already crowned as National 1 champions and sure of their place in the Championship next term – as the first side in the league’s history to win every game in a season.
The team so far have 29 wins from 29 games and have only dropped two out of a possible 29 bonus points on their way to amassing an incredible 143 points – 30 clear of their nearest rivals. Last weekend they blew away bottom side Macclesfield 92-7 as they ran in 14 tries but this weekend’s game will be a different challenge as they face a mid-table side away from home.
The last time Hartpury faced Blackheath was the very first game of this season, beating them 34-0 and their opponents will be coming into the game off the back of a number of losses, Barnes is certain they will be up for the game.
“They’re in a bit of a transition period at the moment with new coaches having come in and are on a tough run but we can’t underestimate their strengths and we’ll have to be at our best and put in a professional performance to come away with the win.”
Barnes is expecting to pick from a very similar squad to last weekend when they face Macclesfield with some players expected to feature for Gloucester in their A League final on Monday.