GC. Last year saw Skins back in Section One. How do you feel it went for you?
RC. I think overall it was a great year for us. We learnt a massive amount from Willie and it was a good environment with Davy Buchanan as captain, everyone enjoyed their rugby. There were definitely low points, a low month really, but you have to have the right perspective, and looking at where we came from it was one of the most successful seasons for the 1st XV, the men’s section and the club as a whole in a long time.

GC. Were you surprised at how competitive that you were in Section One given that you had only been promoted?
RC. I don’t think we were too surprised to be as competitive as we were. The top Section Two sides had all been prominent in the Towns’ Cup at the end of the previous season and I think we all knew we had the potential to compete with the section one sides. Our performance against a very dominant Bangor side in the previous season’s Cup Final probably stayed with us.

GC. A fifth place finish was a good achievement.
Is the plan now to push and build on that?
RC. Yeah, that’s definitely the intention. In Section One there really are no easy games and any side can beat another on their day. It probably took us a while to adjust to that fact and we lacked focus against teams we expected to beat because of where they sat in the league table, that probably cost us top four honours. Now we’re used to that I think it’ll help our consistency.

GC. Do you feel that Skins can make a push for league honours this season?
RC. It’s absolutely an achievable goal. We have maintained the bulk of the squad that competed so well last year and everyone’s a lot more familiar with what Willie’s trying to coach now. We don’t talk much about distant targets like that though i think our current concern will be getting our performances where they need to be and building on that.

GC. There seems to be plenty of talent coming through at the club. Who should we look out for this season?
RC. There has been a great influx of youth this year. Tyler Millar came through the club’s youth system and he’s already showing he can score outstanding tries. Matty Dane has come to us from Portora and his decision making at scrum half for someone just out of school is excellent. Adam Lendrum’s maturing really well too and I think he’ll have a strong season.

GC. Who do you see as being the main contenders at the top of the league this season?
RC. Instonians have some big signings and a lot of resources so they’ll always be a tough team to beat. Ballyclare too are always very steady and have been knocking on the door for a while so this could be their year. Although a wildcard option would be Coleraine who have just been promoted from Section Two, they absolutely ran away with that league and have a strong side.

GC. There has been cup final heartbreak this last two seasons.
Is that something you would be keen to put right this season?
RC. Well Willie will probably chase me with the corner flag for talking about the cup at all with the league starting this week, but yea of course it is in the back of everyone’s mind.
A Town’s Cup final is a career highlight and I’d love to get there again with the lads and try to go one better, but it took a huge amount of work to get there and a big league season of development beforehand so we won’t be thinking about that for a while.

GC. You have been named captain for the season. I’m sure that is a big honour for you.
RC. It is a massive honour for me and it genuinely does mean a lot. When you look at the history of the club, some of the past captains, the people who’ve passed through it over the years, and the tight community around the club, it’s great to be a part of that.

GC. What extra responsibility comes with being captain?
RC. Well a lot of the time you’re telling people off for not getting to training so that part can add years to you very quickly, but the important bit I think is just being a voice for the players and creating an environment where everyone’s enjoying their rugby. It’s important to lead from the front on game day too which is something Davy never failed to do so I’ve big shoes to fill there.