It’s a new season for Sheffield’s National League club - and officials at Dore Moor hope that 2013 will be the year of the Tigers.
Sheffield Tigers, looking to build on their sixth-placed finish in last year’s National League 2 North, have strengthened their coaching after recruiting Dan Richmond, the former Northampton Saints player and England U18 mentor, as their new Director of Rugby.
“Dan is busy preparing the Tigers for top flight rugby,” club spokesperson Richard Joel said.
“His appointment has already seen record numbers of players attend pre-season training sessions, and has inspired a new sense of commitment and confidence to all Tigers players.
“The newly-formed colts team are training alongside the 1st XV players, giving a cohesion throughout the club and helping to prepare the young players for life at national level.”
Richmond’s appointment has seen the introduction of guest coaches at Dore Moor, every Tuesday and Thursday.
Patrick Jerram, the head coach of the England Students team, was the latest to deliver a session, and coaches from the RFU and from Premiership sides such as Saracens are also being lined up.
The club are also looking to renew links with both Sheffield universities, to add to their existing partnership with Doncaster Knights.
That loan agreement means 6ft 8in lock Dominic Parsons will once again wear Tigers colours again this season, as well as familiar faces like Tom Outram, Pete Swatkins and Charlie Cone.
Rupert Broadly will also return for the 2013/14 season - replacing his brother, Jamie, who has signed a contract with Rotherham Titans.
Off the field, Tigers have been strengthened after agreeing a sponsorship deal with Leaderflush Shapland, to add to existing agreements with Gripple, Taylor & Emmett and Henry Boot, and have already planned improvement to Dore Moor in anticipation of another promotion
“We want to bring our second pitch up to National One standards with new drainage,” Joel added.
“And after consulting with the council planners and the Dore Village Society, a solution for extra parking was found with ‘green’ parking.
“Our unique ground falls in an area of natural beauty, so any developments to the Dore Moor ground has to be sympathetic to the natural views.”
Tigers have already been granted two funding awards; one for new posts and post protectors, from the RFU Lead Up and Legacy scheme, and a grant of £33,700 from the Sport England Inspired Facilities programme for the ‘green’ parking.
Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, said “It’s great news that the Tigers have secured this funding, and huge congratulations must go to all involved.
“As a local MP I’m delighted that improved access will make it even easier for people to go along and get involved in this fantastic rugby club.”
Tigers began their pre-season preparations with a heavy 74-5 defeat at the hands of the Knights last weekend, with Alex Graham scoring the only Tigers try.
On Saturday, Tigers face Hull Ionians and their first home game is against Rotherham Titans on September 7.
n Sheffield RUFC, meanwhile, have a cup tie away at Middlesbrough on Saturday (3pm).