TAUNTON Titans head coach Tony Yapp believes Saturday’s game at Bury St Edmund’s will be the hardest assignment his side have faced so far this season.

The Titans are now out on their own at the top after Saturday’s thumping 81-14 win over Worthing, leaving Yapp pleased with the team effort so far this season.

“It’s always nice to start well," he said.

"Previously, we have been reliant on Exeter University, but - contrary to some of what I have been reading - we are not this year and it’s nice to see ambitious young players settling in well.

“Many of our new players have come from lower divisions and are keen to prove themselves with us, so the competition for places is much stronger this year.

"Perhaps previously having the Uni lads provided a safety net, as players knew they would eventually get a chance in their absence, but now the squad know they have to be performing and putting in the effort every week.

"It adds a niggle to training and an intensity to matches.”

Looking ahead to this weekend's clash at sixth-placed Bury St Edmunds, he said: “They have improved since their first game [a 50-17 defeat] and it’s a long trip up there - we are leaving Taunton at 7am.

“They are well coached by former British Lion Ollie Smith and will be quietly confident, so it's our toughest test so far.

"With that in mind, we have to come up with a gameplan that can keep our run going.”

In-form flanker Ratu 'Toots' Vatalutukali, who picked up the man of the match award last week, is a doubt for the visitors as his partner is due to give birth this weekend.