TAUNTON Titans head coach Tony Yapp has insisted his side will not give up their top two ambitions, as they look to get back on track at home to Barnes tomorrow (ko 3pm).

Taunton’s 38-5 reverse to Henley Hawks leaves them fifth, eight points adrift of second with seven games to play.

Yapp said: “It was closer than the scoreline suggests in many respects, but they took their chances and we didn’t.

“Of course it has a big impact on our [promotion] chances but this is a good group, we had a good training session on Tuesday night and we will keep fighting.

“This is a competitive league and no team can be confident of winning all their remaining matches.

“We just have to target bonus-point wins and make sure we can jump in there if other teams slip up.

“It is not getting any easier – Barnes and Tonbridge are bogey sides for us and we have to go away to [leaders] Rams.”

Taunton’s record against their promotion rivals has let them down this season – the Titans have won just once against a fellow member of the top five, while several matches have been decided by just one score.

“You can look at all the games against those sides and, Sunday’s defeat at Henley aside, we had chances to win them,” Yapp said.

“We controlled the game against Henley at home, missed a late kick to win at Canterbury and were in control at home to Rams before a red card.

“We have not got the points we would have liked against the other top sides but we are not a million miles away.”

Taunton go into this weekend’s match boosted by a new face, with Yapp moving to snap up his former Exeter Chiefs team-mate Matt Jess following the wing’s departure from a player-coach role at South West Premier side Newton Abbot.

Jess scored 103 points in as many matches in a Chiefs career spanning from 2008 to 2017.

“I know him well and I asked if he would be up for playing for us until the end of the season, which he is,” Yapp said.

“To begin with it is just a playing role – I want him to enjoy his rugby again – but knowing the character he is, I am sure he will help out and be a hugely positive influence on our young backs.

“You could see that straight away in his first training session with the encouragement he was giving and he looks very sharp.”

Nick Mason and Dan Ogden are injury doubts for tomorrow's match at the Commsplus Stadium.


ELSEWHERE tomorrow, Wellington travel to take on top-half rivals Tiverton in Western Counties West.

In Somerset Premier, champions-in-waiting Wiveliscombe go to Oldfield Old Boys, while Minehead Barbarians are away to St Bernadettes Old Boys.

In Women's South West South 2 (1), meanwhile, Minehead Barbarians Ladies entertain Topsham.