TAUNTON Titans head coach Tony Yapp has set his sights on a top two finish in National 2 South this season.

After steady improvement in the three years that Yapp, Chris Brown and Keith Brooking have been at the helm, the former Exeter Chiefs fly-half believes promotion could now be within the Titans’ reach.

Speaking ahead of the new campaign, he said: “Our aim is to finish in the top two.

“We’re ambitious and we’d love to get promoted, but we don’t want to put the club under any financial difficulties.

“With that in mind, we are always looking to improve on the field but with the nature of this league – some spend a lot of money, some don’t – it can be tough to judge the standard.

“If it’s similar to last year I think we can squeeze into the top two, and we are quietly confident we can improve on last season.”

There will also be no reliance on Exeter University, with a shift in focus towards promising Somerset-based talent such as fly-half Kieran Hill and prop Connor Baker.

“When I first took over we relied heavily on the University, but this year we have no players from there,” Yapp said.

“Instead we have a bigger squad, which will make it more difficult to keep everyone happy, but it will push the level of commitment to training up as guys know that if they don’t commit they are unlikely to play.

“There is more competition for places, which is healthy, and hopefully we can deal with injuries better than in the past.”

While admitting there is “no real pressure” to go up a level, Yapp believes the club are equipped to do so.

“If you look at the quality of facilities, the pitch and the support we get off the field through sponsors and the friends of the club, I think we are ready,” he said.

“If we got promoted that would be a massive bonus but, from my point of view, as long as the club is healthy and we have good numbers coming to training that is success.

“We are now starting to pick up the best young players in Somerset, who see us as an opportunity to step up to the next level, and if we can keep bringing those guys through as well as keeping hold of local players hopefully we can make that next step soon.”

The Titans begin their campaign tomorrow with the visit of Broadstreet, the Coventry-based side who were champions of National League 3 Midlands last season.

The action at Hyde Park begins at 3pm.


WELLINGTON will look to take their momentum from their final pre-season friendly into their opening league match, which is at Honiton on Saturday.

Last Friday saw the Red & Blacks defeat Minehead 36-0, with tries from Jack Churchill, Corey Jenkinson, Micky Norman, Paddy Jarman (2) and George Hodgson.

The side are now playing in the Cornwall & Devon League after relegation from Western Counties West last time out.


WIVELISCOMBE begin their Somerset Premier campaign with a trip to St Bernadettes Old Boys tomorrow.

Wyvern, meanwhile, travel to Bristol Barbarians to kick off their season in Somerset 1.

Then, on Sunday, a Wyvern social XV will take on Blake Bears at Bridgwater & Albion's College Way ground, from 1pm.


AND Minehead Barbarians open their campaign in the Somerset Premier with a home derby against Bridgwater 2nd XV (ko 3pm).