By Richard Sykes

For Huddersfield RUFC’s first XV the 2023-24 season has not been a good one to say the least.

With only three National 2 North fixtures remaining relegation from the 4th tier of English rugby is a virtual, if not yet mathematical, certainty. It will be the third time since 2007 that the team has made the drop.

Despite the disappointment there is a real sense of optimism about the future at the club and plans are already being made to hit the ground running when the Regional 1 (North East) season begins in September.

Former First XV captain Nick Sharpe has taken over as the club’s new chair of rugby. He said: “This season has clearly been tough. The disruption after a coaching change at the end of last season certainly had a bearing and this led to a lack of planning.

“However there has been an improvement over the last few weeks and we have plenty to build on for next season.

“Our aim is to get back in National 2 and we are looking to win our league next year, like we have done the previous two times we were at Level 5.

“We have started our preparation and have a core group of committed players. We have also appointed Danny Brough as our new head coach.

“He has already made good links with our colts second and third teams and we believe he can bring our rugby section together.”

The former Huddersfield Giants captain and 2013 Super League ‘Man of Steel’ joined the Lockwood Park outfit as defence coach late in February and the rugby league legend’s vast experience had an immediate impact, with vastly improved performances against Sheffield Tigers, Fylde and Rotherham creating a growing confidence in the squad.

Brough will be supported in his coaching role by present captains Ed Barber and Callum Thompson. Like Brough both are very experienced players. Sharpe believes that the three will “build a culture that has a Lockwood Park heartbeat based on core values of commitment and hard work.”

Sharpe added: “Danny has got Huddersfield and rugby in his veins and will demand high standards. We’re looking to ensure that rugby players in Huddersfield want to play for HRUFC.

“They have lots of options in both codes and we want to create an environment to retain our junior players and attract local talent.

“HRUFC is a great place to play rugby. We have a thriving junior section, amazing people, great facilities and a beautiful setting in which to enjoy the game.”

Huddersfield take on Otley in their final home game on Saturday April 6, kick off 3pm.