SWINDON player-coach Adam Westall admits his men are in for a tough opening South West One East contest when hosting newly-promoted Marlborough on Saturday.

After securing promotion to the sixth tier of English rugby following a dramatic win at Windsor last season, Marlborough complete a Wiltshire-strong South West One East division, a section that also includes Royal Wootton Bassett, Chippenham, Trowbridge and Salisbury.

Westall, now in his eighth year at Swindon, hopes the local feel to the division can help provide strong adverts for rugby in the region while adding an additional edge to competitiveness in games.

“It helps with travelling and makes it a bit more interesting for us playing teams week in and week out that we know," said Westall, ahead of the campaign curtain-raiser at Greenbridge Road.

“We can expect a tough challenge on Saturday. Marlborough will enjoy the hard ground and dry weather. We know it will be a tricky game for us.

“Hopefully it should be entertaining for those watching.”

Ian Reynolds has taken charge of the Swindon’s first-team over the summer, a period which has caused problems for clubs across the land following a prolonged dry spell.

The heatwave has restricted Swindon’s pre-season progress, but Westall insists his troops are more than ready and at full strength for their league opener.

“It’s been hard over the summer, we’ve been working on a strength programme with Dave Parker before coming in for actual rugby in mid-July,” said Westall.

“We’ve since had a couple of pre-season fixtures which went very well, we understand where we need to improve while knowing we’ve made decent strides with our pre-season work.

“We’re all looking forward to the weekend, we’re pretty much at full strength.

“We always take the stance to better what we did last year. If we can do that we’ll be pleased.

“In the past two seasons, we’ve restructured and struggled historically at the start of the season when we are at our fittest.

“We’ve had poor attendance with regards to availability, but we’ve got that right this year.

“We spoke to the team on Thursday to say we’re in a better place now than what we were maybe 12 months ago.”