Things could not have gone much better for the all dominant King’s College School Old Boys this season.
The New Malden-based outfit have won 18 bonus point wins from 18 games, racked up a points difference of 547, and two weeks ago became the first team to be promoted in English rugby when they clinched the London Two South West title.
But despite now reaching the highest level they have ever attained in the rugby pyramid, captain Tom Dugarin is adamant they won’t be resting on their laurels.
“Promotion was great, but now it’s about getting to 22 wins out of 22,” he said.
“There are loads of good clubs who get promoted, the great clubs are the ones who go unbeaten.
“If we lose a game, it will feel like relegation.”
As well as this season’s new focus on a fast, attacking style of play under coach Sam Richards following four years of mid-table finishes, the skipper acclaimed the club set-up.
“We have a younger-than-average side, and what’s really encouraging is so many of those came through the club system,” he added.
“This hasn’t been built on us getting our chequebook out, it’s almost the complete opposite – it’s about developing a home-grown squad.
“And while we’re all unbelievably competitive on the field, it’s about more than just the rugby.
“Everything we do is about enjoyment. Ultimately, the best way to enjoy something is winning.”
Now in his 12th year in the first-team, his third as captain, and possibly his last overall, centre Dugarin credited the foundations laid by club chairman and director of rugby Paddy Ralston.
“What I would stress more than anything is that this is a club promotion,” he said.
“It’s about the firsts as much as the seconds, the under-21s, the under-12s and the under-eights.
“The players who came through our system are the ones producing the goods, so we’ve really delivered an organic club win.”
But Dugarin admitted he wishes KCS Old Boys second XV – currently second in Surrey Conference North and two points off the top – could have gone unbeaten, and hopes KCS can put out a third team in future.
Although he acknowledged the challenge of playing in a higher league, Dugarin – who played at full back in Saturday’s 33-14 win over Twickenham – is optimistic about next season in London One South.
“It sounds wildly ambitious but we want to go for promotion next year,” he added.
“Our squad is unbelievably hungry and they’re keen to achieve something beyond the sum of their parts.”