COVENTRY Rugby ace Heath Stevens insists the Blue and Whites must rise to the challenges the IPA Championship throws their way next season.
The 25-year-old, who made 19 appearances during Coventry’s title-winning campaign last term while also suffering a freak leg break in November, stressed the club have a strong pre-season schedule which will prepare them for the next level in the rugby union pyramid.
“I’m excited about testing ourselves against some good teams next season,” he said.
“The club have picked no bones about where they want to go and we are back in the league we want to be in.
“I am looking forward to getting back out there on the pitch and giving the best account of ourselves.
“We need to enjoy our rugby but also realise the hard work starts now.”
The hard-hitting centre was recently appointed first XV captain by Rowland Winter and his coaching team with an expectancy for Stevens to draw upon his previous experiences in the second tier.
Coventry began their pre-season preparations last week with Max Hartman and Hannah Walker leading a testing session for the first XV and development academy players.
“We had to do an upper body strength test which included bench press and a maximum weight on the pull up bar, followed by a maximum output on the watt bike which we had to do for 60 seconds to see how many watts we could do,” said Stevens.
“We then finished off with a six-minute time trial where we had to get in as many metres as we could.
“It’s brutal testing but the boys were producing good numbers and everyone has come back looking well.”