Cook confident Stratford-upon-Avon can improve form

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SKIPPER Jo Cook insists Stratford-upon-Avon’s form will change as the club transitions into a ‘different brand’ of rugby.

The 38-12 reverse to Oxford Harlequins on Saturday leaves Stratford rock bottom of the South West One East table, but Cook can see the improvements as the weeks go by.

However, the tough games just keep on coming as high-flying Royal Wootton Bassett are the visitors to Pearcecroft on Saturday.

The previous meeting back in September ended with Royal Wootton running out comfortable 35-3 winners.

“The key thing at the moment is we are going through a period of change,” said Cook.

“Since Tom (Rance – director or rugby) has come in, we have changed our brand of rugby and we can see the improvements as the weeks go by.

“Our performances are much better than they were earlier in the season and there’s a lot of positivity around the club.

“Royal Wootton are a very physical team so we are going to pick an agile team to combat that.

“We want to run their bigger players around to make them tired so we can use our high fitness levels to beat them.”

Harlequins did all the damage in the first half at the weekend as they raced into a 28-0 lead.

Toni Turetta and Chris Davies bagged two tries each and James Stacey kicked four conversions.

Turetta completed his hat-trick after the interval before Rory Garrett got in on the act to give the hosts an unassailable 38-0 lead with only 53 minutes on the clock.

Stratford then hit back through an Angus Wightman try which was converted by Charlie Powell.

The visitors also had the final say when Elliot Smith crossed the whitewash to complete Stratford’s scoring.

“I think the scoreline flattered Oxford a little as a few decisions went against us,” said Cook.

“I received a contentious yellow card and while I was off the field they scored a couple of tries and that might not have happened on another day.

“The performance was good and we expect to keep seeing improvements.”