DALZIEL Rugby Club head coach David Wilson believes his side will have be put in their best performance of the season if they are to take anything from this weekend’s eagerly-anticipated first derby of the season.
Wilson also insists his young and inexperienced side are the underdogs as they make the trip to Laigh Bent to take on unbeaten Hamilton on Saturday.
Both teams have begun the campaign in a positive manner with Hamilton second, ahead of newly-promoted Dalziel on points difference.
And whilst Dalziel have won three of their opening four league fixtures including a bonus point victory last Saturday against Musselburgh, former Glasgow Hawks coach Wilson feels they will need to increase their intensity levels against their Lanarkshire rivals.
“It’s going to be very tough and I genuinely believe that the only way we will win is if we put in our best performance of the season,” he said.
“We will definitely be seen as the upstarts because Hamilton have been in the higher divisions for a few seasons now whereas Dalziel have just been promoted. I would see them as favourites.
“They have some experienced players such as second-row forward and captain Richie Maxon and are bringing in some overseas players this week. We have just got to concentrate on what we want to do well and if we do that we can ask some questions.”
He added: “The loss to Whitecraigs last week was Dalziel’s first in a long time but what the defeat showed was that the intensity levels need to be greater at this level. It seems they were much more up for it than us.”
Dalziel’s encouraging start to life in Premier Three has been all the more impressive given the fact they suffered a blow in pre-season when club captain Gillon Duguid was ruled out for the entire campaign following surgery on a hand injury.
Back-row forward Andy Hill has also been snapped up by Premier One giants Glasgow Hawks and key duo John Harris and John Goldie are currently out injured.
“These are all players who would be in the team,” Wilson said. “The side is pretty inexperienced and whilst Craig Simmonds has played age group rugby he’s still captaining the side at 22 with little experience at this level. But from what I have seen already I don’t think there should be any team in the league that Dalziel should be scared of.”
The 47-year-old has been involved in his fair share of derby tussles against Ayr and West of Scotland both as a coach and a player at Glasgow Hawks over the years. And whilst Wilson expects an extra edge to this weekend’s Lanarkshire derby, he feels it’s vital Dalziel channel their aggression in the right manner.
“The guys at Dalziel are all Motherwell boys and it will be the pride of Motherwell against the pride of Hamilton,” the PE teacher said. “But we can’t forget about the performance that is needed to win. That fervour and enthusiasm will only take you so far. I think sometimes if you let that get in the way of the performance, local derbies can turn into poor affairs. It’s bragging rights for a particular amount of time and if that is a motivating factor for the players then fine, but we still need to practice the things that we want to develop. We can’t get involved in any ill-discipline as can happen in local derbies.”
Saturday’s game is going to be the first on Hamilton’s new pitch at Laigh Bent after extensive work was undertaken during the summer and their new coach Dale Lyon is relishing the derby tussle.
He said: “I could not have asked for a better first match in charge of Hamilton at Laigh Bent this coming Saturday than a local derby match against Dalziel.
“As big as this weekend’s game is, the Hamilton troops realise it is just game five of 22 that we have to play in the league.”