Adam Byron believes Sheffield RUFC’s next two fixtures could be ‘season defining’ as they continue their battle to avoid relegation from the North 1 East Division.
Sheffield’s head coach will take charge of his second game tomorrow afternoon when Sheffield welcome Morpeth, who are third bottom, to Abbeydale Park, before hosting second bottom Middlesbrough next weekend.
Byron, who has inherited club duties from Ben Wade after Sheffield’s former director of rugby left Abbeydale last week due to personal reasons, has seven games to turn the club’s season around and keep them up.
And Byron believes Sheffield’s future will be much clearer following their next two crucial encounters.
“These are the defining games and we have to come away with two victories,” Byron told Grass Roots.
“Last week’s result [defeat against Wheatley Hills] leaves us in a very difficult situation... we needed six wins from our final eight games and now we need six wins from our final seven.
“But we have to take it a game at a time, we have got a favourable run of games compared to those teams that are around us so we have to make it count.”
Byron, who has been taking first-team training since December, wants his side to show more ‘game sense’ after their derby-day defeat against Wheatley.
“I have said to the boys that I can’t fault their commitment, but as a group we need to show more sense,” Byron added.
“We have been unlucky in a lot of games this season, but we have also been naïve.
“We need to be able to defend key areas better and finish off our chances when we get them - as we did against Wheatley.”
Meanwhile, veteran lock Richard Joel has left Sheffield RUFC to link back up with Sheffield Tigers - and believes he stepped away from National 2 North rugby too soon at the start of the season.
Joel originally retired from National 2 North rugby back in the summer and was convinced by Wade to join Sheffield RUFC, but he admits things did not work out as he planned.
And after Dan Richmond, the Sheffield Tigers’ director of rugby, sought to bring back Joel’s know-how and experience, he admits it was an easy choice to return to Dore Moor.
“Ben persuaded me back in the summer to give them a season,” Joel revealed. But as this season has wore on, I stopped enjoying playing rugby, and wondered if I had dropped down too soon. Ben knew about my situation for some time and he was approached by Tigers to speak to me.
“I haven’t been happy about my performances and he agreed to let me speak to Dan. “I am happy to be back, but there’s no hard feelings from my side about leaving Sheffield RUFC. I know Tigers inside out, I am a Tigers boy through and through and hopefully I can bring a physical edge to the team .”
Joel is hoping to be in the squad for tomorrow’s rearranged clash with Otley at Dore Moor. In the build up to the game, fly half Tom Outram has labelled the game a ‘must-win’ for Tigers as they look to claw back an 11-point gap between themselves and Hull, who occupy the final safety spot.
“We were outplayed in the reverse fixture but we have made some big improvements since then and I think home advantage will be crucial,” Outram said.
“After the recent wet weather, we haven’t played for a few weeks so it is crucial that we get some momentum going with a good performance. If we can show the sort of work rate and team spirit which helped us to gain recent victories over Leicester Lions and Sedgley Park, I’m sure we will come out on top this week.”