Diss youngsters given chance to impress in London 1N

Diss coach Phil Sharpe will be giving the club's youngsters a chance to shine between now and the end of the season – even if that means not always fielding the strongest side available to him.

Since taking over in the summer Sharpe has turned the men from Mackenders into a competitive outfit, with an excellent run of form before Christmas catapulting them into the top four of London 1N.

But Sharpe insists promotion has never been discussed, and with the team currently 12 points adrift of the top two he will be continuing to focus on the long-term.

'The best way to develop the team is by giving some of the young players a chance to show what they can do in the first team and that's what we will be doing from now on,' he said. 'This season was never going to be about promotion – it was about building a team for the future. We won't be throwing in all the youngsters together. It's a case of putting them in a few at a time and seeing how they cope with the demands of senior rugby. It will be an important part of their development and will help us develop a team in the long run.

'Having said that, it's important to stress that we will be going all out to win every game we play in between now and the end of the season – that is always our aim.'

Diss demonstrated their progress under Sharpe on Saturday when they came desperately close to beating leaders Thurrock, only to concede two late tries to go down 10-3.

'We had our chances and didn't take them but their first try came after an unbelievable decision by the referee. But we can't dwell on that – we lost the game and we just have to move on to the next one,' he said.

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That's a trip to third placed Letchworth Garden City tomorrow, with Diss looking for a repeat of their 27-24 win at Mackenders back in October.

• Norfolk Under-17s will be taking part in an Eastern Counties three way competition with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk at Norwich RFC on Sunday (1.30pm). Norfolk Under 16 and Under-15s play Suffolk at Southwold on the same day (2.15pm).