NEIL Mitchell has stoked the fire ahead of Stourbridge’s top-of-the-table clash with Hull Ionians this Saturday stating “we do what you do, only better”.
The Saxons and Ionians, first and second in National Two North, collide at Stourton Park in what promises to be a battle between two of the league’s most physical packs.
Stour are once again protecting a perfect record after escaping from Sheffield Tigers with a 22-20 win last weekend and director of rugby Mitchell says his side are confident of extending the sequence against Hull.
He said: “Both of us play a very similar game but with all due respect to Ionians — and they will certainly get our respect — we feel we are stronger.
“Now the weather is turning and the ground becoming a bit of a quagmire it should suit us even more, particularly in the scrums where we’ve been powering home our advantage.
“Over the past couple of weeks we have played big games against Darlington and Sheffield and the most noticeable thing has been the sheer physicality in contact.
“Both opposition teams have seen players leave the pitch with injury, we have really shown our strength.”
The Saxons were required to dig deep in Sheffield as they overhauled a 10-point deficit in the final quarter, only grabbing the tying penalty try in the last minute when the hosts were penalised for hauling down a driving maul. Caolan Ryan then kicked the winning conversion.
Mitchell expects tight-head prop Mark George to return for Saturday’s game and says the squad has developed a “siege mentality” in the knowledge they are the side everyone wants to beat.
He added: “Every team we face now want to be the ones to end our winning streak, that’s what the sport is all about.
“There is a great determination among our players.
“Sheffield really came at us on Saturday and we made a few uncharacteristic mistakes early on, when we watched the DVD we noticed how we had been standing off tackles.
“It didn’t seem to happen for us in the first 10 minutes and that dictated the way the game went.
“But again it was the physicality which saw us through in the end. You could see we were coming back into the game and they were powerless to stop us. ”