IT’S been a while since Robb College would have sat atop the New England standings but the students have the chance to assume the outright lead today.
They currently share it with student rivals St Albert’s but will hold that mantle alone if they can get over Barbarians at Bellevue Oval.
That’s not going to be easy but on current form it’s hard to go past Robb.
Today will be about building on their last few weeks.
“We’ve set a bit of a platform up,” co-coach Jim Boland said.
They’ve won their last three and, after successive wins over Albies, beat an improving Guyra last week.
“Our fellas actually learnt a few lessons about themselves,” Boland said.
The doubts are starting to go, he said.
“They’re actually starting to believe in themselves and believe in the structure,” he said.
That’s rubbing off on the field and in their attitude.
“They’re keen. They’ve asked for extra trainings,” he said.
He said it was hard to get a read on Barbarians.
They haven’t won since beating Albies in the first round, but pushed Albies last week.
There was only a point in it with 10 minutes to go.
“We’re really worried about this game,” Boland said.
They’re expecting Baa Baas to be quite desperate.
“They’re not a bad side. I’m not sure why they’re getting the results they have been,” he said.
It will be their first encounter with Baa Baas but, from what he’s seen previously and heard, the size of the forwards and the play-making skills of some of their backs will be the biggest threat.
For Robb, the focus will be on ball control.
“Ball retention is probably our biggest weakness at the moment,” Boland said.
The turnovers are becoming fewer though.
“We’ve gone from atrocious to awful,” he said.
“Because we’ve got patience and discipline now, when we do turn it over they work hard to rectify that.”
But it is extra tackles they have to make, as Boland has been telling the players.
“Every time you give the ball away it’s six or seven tackles,” he said.
That can really add up over the course of a match.
In the other game, Armidale returns from a two-week break and makes the trip up to Guyra.