STOURBRIDGE RFC director of rugby Neil Mitchell believes his young players are learning quickly as they prepare for another tough National One fixture this weekend.

Stour travel to Polson’s Bridge on Saturday to face a Launceston side expected to finish in the top six.

The Cornish All Blacks were relegated at the end of last season courtesy of the restructure that formed the 12 club Championship after two seasons in English rugby’s second tier.

The RFU’s fixture guru has given Stour an especially tough opening month. Despite defeats by Sedgley Park and Cambridge, Mitchell has taken enough encouragement from his young side’s displays and is optimistic about their prospects across the Tamar.

He said: “We have benchmarked ourselves against two top sides in the last fortnight, and our young players have learnt quickly. Our forwards have been solid throughout, with new recruits Andi Lawrence and Seb Pearson settling in well.”

“In the backline I have been especially pleased with the performances of wingers Ali Hunter-Blair and Duncan Chance, who were both playing junior rugby last season.”

“We expect hooker Alan Keylock to be our only injury absentee on Saturday, so I am very hopeful that we will cause an upset.”

Last Saturday a hat-trick from scrum half Stefan Liebenberg was the highlight of a seven try Cambridge victory at Stourton Park.

However, a competitive Stour display pushed the visitors hard for an hour, before the full-timers’ superior fitness and organisation finally told as they ran out 45-21 winners.

Cambridge dominated the first quarter but the sin-binning of flanker Dan Legge allowed Stour to settle and then snatch the lead with two quick scores.

A fourth try of the season for lock forward and captain Ben Hughes was followed by a superb 40 metre solo effort from England Counties’ scrum half Tom Richardson.

Cambridge hit back but Stour trailed by just five points as the game entered the final 20 minutes.

Wingers Chris Lombard and Handre Schmidt eventually secured an away win, which was confirmed by a Darren Fox try on the final whistle.