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Page last updated at 12:02 GMT, Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Newbury Rugby Club can bounce back - Andy Widdup

Newbury Blues

Newbury head coach Andy Widdup says continuing to develop young players is the key to ending the club's descent.

The Blues currently lie bottom of National South Two and a third successive relegation looks inevitable.

But Widdup told BBC Berkshire: "We need to foster young talent so we can go forward and reproduce those good days.

"It looks very much like we're going down, so next year it's a process of rebuilding and looking to get back into this division as quickly as we can."

Newbury enjoyed several seasons in the second tier of English rugby before the restructuring of the leagues in 2009.

And Widdup admitted it is a long route back to that level for the club.

"We had some fantastic days out to Northampton and Harlequins," he continued.

We lick our wounds, have a couple of beers, and all will be well with the world

Newbury head coach Andy Widdup

"We have to accept that those days have gone - I don't necessarily think they won't ever come back again - but we need to rebuild, look at what we've got here.

"There's a good junior set-up, with two colts sides at the business end of national competitions. Some of those players will go on to bigger and better things, but a good number will stay here and play."

Newbury have won just one league game all season, conceding an average of 67 points per game, but Widdup maintains the club should be able to compete at this level.

"We have the facilities to do it - it's just a question of resetting our sights," he said.

"When you look at the Championship, you're talking about serious money for a long period of time. Even when we played in those leagues, putting in some half-decent performances against some really good sides, we were always the side with the least money.

"But you compare that with what we have at the moment and it was a massive amount of money. We're always the ones making the most out of a small budget."

Despite the 22 defeats the team has suffered this season, Widdup says the squad are able to keep things in perspective.

"I've worked with some of them since they were 6 or 7-years-old, so as a partnership we've been through some good times as well as the hard times at the moment.

"It is of course disappointing but - and I know it's a cliche - but it is just a game and on Monday mornings they all go back to work and university and it's important that they go back with sound mind and body.

"I'm the same, I have other work to do. We lick our wounds, have a couple of beers, and all will be well with the world."

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