BROMSGROVE RFC will begin their pre-season programme at Henley Hawks on Saturday with renewed optimism for the campaign ahead.

The Boars finished seventh in National Two North last term and this time out are targeting a top-six place with an aim to keep an unbeaten home record.

Another target is to come out on top in local derbies, where they will play Luctonioans, Stourbridge, Dudley Kingswinford and Birmingham Solihull.

Although the majority of last season’s squad have been retained, Bromsgrove have lost Joel Dudley to Jersey and Nigel Burrows and Caolan Ryan to Moseley However, head coach Ross Baxter feels the fact the trio have moved to teams higher up the rugby pyramid is a sign the club is progressing.

He said: “We will probably feel their loss but at least they are moving on to higher level teams and I like to think we have had a say in enabling them to do that.”

One new recruit to the senior staff is former Woodrush coach Rupert Cure, having worked with the colts section for the previous two campaigns.

Toby Wilson, Alex Woodward and James Curvengen are all unavailable for the Henley game, as is Ted Lang who is in Australia.

The first chance the Boars’ fans will get to see Bromsgrove at Finstall Park this season is against Hinckley on Saturday August 25.

Meanwhile, Bromsgrove will kick-off the new term with a trip to Hull Ionians on Saturday, Septmeber 1, before making the trip to Herefordshire to tackle Luctonians the following week.

Bromsgrove then make their home league season bow againt Caldy on September 15.