Falkirk rugby coach Paul Larter says the club are ahead of his own preparations with Saturday’s league opener at Greenock.
He had a first proper look at his first team squad as it is on Saturday when the Sunnysiders saw off Edinburgh Accies in the final warm-up game.
But those involved in other games and training on Saturday outwith the first XV are not necessarily outwith his plans he says, going into his first match as Sunnysiders’ chief.
“Saturday was the first time we had the first team squad together and playing as a first team, and it worked well.
Until then it had always been a mix match of first, seconds and under-18s, but everyone held their own.
Against Boroughmuir and Aberdeen Grammar (the two defeats) we were in it until we switched it up a bit and brought more of the young players on after an hour or so, then we began to lose our structure and they capitalised.
“To be honest we are a lot further on than I’d ever imagined we’d be at this stage when I took the job on, so I’m really pleased.”
Larter has added 10 new faces to the Falkirk ranks, including three imports from Australia, and while Gary Dempsey from Grangemouth Stags is a coup, it’s younger players who have caught his eye this summer and could force their way into the team before long.
“The second string have all done really well and are knocking on the door of the first team.
“Sammy Turner has impressed greatly from the under-18s however and will be involved in the seconds whenever possible. He scored a cracking try on Saturday and made a real try saving tackle in the game too.
They’ve all given me something to think about and a decision to make, because everyone involved has put some real effort in and impressed.
“We’ve got creativity in the middle of the pitch and pace and excitement towards the wings. We’ve also filled out the backs so I’m pleased.
“In total we’ve brought ten new guys in, including Gary Dempsey, who’s back at the club from our neighbours at Grangemouth, and Hayden Ritchie from West of Scotland, and he’s a really good player.
Sammy came on against Aberdeen and grew in confidence. The young guys will be brought in when they have no games at their age group and their SRU strength tests are back to show they’re ready for games. The young set-up is very strong at the club and it all feels like a cohesive unit. Everyone is working together from the youth right through and that’s important – the youth set-up is one of this club’s strengths and we must build on it.
“We’re trying to increase the connection between the first team and the youths and there will be a series of interviews getting to know the first team players to help do that.
“We have confidence ahead of Saturday. In a sense I’m disappointed my first game in charge of Falkirk is away from home and not at CALA Park but regardless, it won’t matter much as we’ll go to Greenock and play our own game then get ready for Dalziel at home the next week.
“I’m quietly confident we’ll do well this season, we are capable of challenging.”