WILL Croker called for his Bournemouth squad to be “ruthless” as they prepare for their South West Premier opener tomorrow.

Having secured a second straight fifth-place finish last term, the Chapel Gate head coach is out to improve his side’s position and claimed the set-up is “an amazing place to be around at the moment”.

Bournemouth got their pre-season preparations off to a strong start, having breezed past South West One East outfit Witney 76-7.

Lions then took positives from hosting a three-way tournament, in which they beat Havant convincingly and suffered a narrow defeat to London Irish Wild Geese in 40-minute contests.

Four new teams have joined the division this term, three of those being promoted sides Weston-super-Mare, Maidenhead and Newbury Blues, who Lions face at home in their league opener on Saturday (3pm).

Old Redcliffians departed as champions, while Launceston, Salisbury and Bromsgrove were relegated.

Boss Croker believes if Bournemouth can find their cutting edge, they can be a force to be reckoned with in English rugby’s fifth tier.

He told the Daily Echo: “We know we play one of the most attractive forms of rugby in the league but being attractive doesn’t necessarily win you games.

“We need to find that ruthless edge. When we get into the strike zone, we need to take either three points from a penalty, or gain a try or a converted try.

“I just can’t wait for the season to get started now. Pre-season has been great but it almost feels like a phoney war.

“You just want to get started and get into the competitive stuff.

“We really have come together as one club and it’s an amazing place to be around at the moment.”

Assessing the division this term, the head coach added: “There is good competition in the league and we are going to have to be on our mettle but we feel we have had a good pre-season and we are ready to go.

“We are not so brazen as to say we will get promoted or want to get promoted, what we are looking to do is win every game.

“We have a lot of battles to fight on a lot of fronts.

“We have been able to recruit really well. We have also managed to hang on to a large number of the guys from last season.

“Now we have got at least two first-team choice players in every position and that’s what has given us confidence going into this season.”

Having tumbled down the league structure in recent years, visitors Newbury gained promotion last term when beating Clevedon 25-22 in a play-off final back in April.

And, having scouted their opposition, Croker is fully aware Bournemouth are in for a fierce test.

“We are really excited,” he added.

“Newbury are a very big club. I went up and watched their play-off win.

“It will be two teams who like to play really good rugby.”