WILL Croker believes the success of Bournemouth’s first XV had been driven on by a successful second string – after both sides secured their respective league titles.

The Lions’ first team won South West Premier on March 9 with four games to spare following a bonus-point home win over Exmouth.

Bournemouth’s seconds claimed Division Two of the Zoo Sports Shield and the director of rugby said the success of one team had benefitted the other.

Croker is preparing the first XV to host Maidenhead at Chapel Gate on Saturday.

He said: “For our first team to flourish we needed to ensure that our second team were playing rugby of a standard that, when they stepped up to play in the first team, they were already playing at a certain level.

“The commitment from the boys has been absolutely fantastic because there is actually as much travelling for the second team as there is for the first team.

“This season has absolutely justified the decision to take on the extra travelling.

“We have attended every game with as strong a squad as we can and the best attitude that we can. It is testament to everyone’s hard work that we have actually managed to win that league as well."