SKIPPER George Edge is confident Warwick University can rise to the challenge and be competitive in their new division this year.
Having won BUCS Midlands 2A and the Midlands Cup last season, the step up to Division 1A promises to be a real test of Warwick’s mettle as they come up against sides adorned with scholarship players and a real culture of success in the world of university rugby league.
Warwick begin their league campaign today (Wednesday) with a home clash against Oxford University, a side they beat twice last season – more notably in the Midlands Cup final.
Warwick were hoping to making it three straight wins over Oxford to send the right message to the rest of the division.
This season also includes two games against fierce rivals Coventry University.
Captain Edge said: “Obviously this season is going to be a harder challenge but I have full faith in our ability to make the step up and be competitive in this division.
“The boys are raring to go and are especially looking forward to those crunch fixtures against Coventry.”
Last season’s success also brings Warwick’s reintroduction to the BUCS Trophy – the national competition – for the first time since 2014.
They open up their Trophy campaign with a tough away fixture to rugby league heavyweights Northumbria University.
The game is pencilled in for February 20 but could be subject to change.
Calum Linton, last season’s captain who presided over an unbeaten campaign, said: “We had an unbelievable season last year, winning every game in our division and also claiming the Midlands Cup.
“Now we need to show that we deserve to be in this division and the only way to do that is to start and keep winning games.”
Warwick completed their pre-season schedule with an intra-club match which included plenty of new faces as well as some old ones too.
A tight game ended 24-20 after a few exchanges of momentum, with the game being settled by a Sam Walton try in the corner with two minutes to go.