Townson: Bristol match has a special feel to it
The only two unbeaten teams in the Greene King IPA Championship go head-to-head this weekend (live on Sky Sports Action, 2.45pm) and it’s set to be a special return to Ashton Gate for Glen Townson.
The 30-year-old lock made 112 appearances over six years with Bristol before making the switch to the capital last season.
Trailfinders have 20 points from a possible 20 after their incredible 72-12 win over London Scottish last weekend, and are a point ahead of promotion favourites Bristol.
If Ealing are to be serious contenders in the promotion race this season, this Sunday is the perfect time to find out against a rejuvenated Bristol Rugby side under new coach Pat Lam.
Townson is hoping for a triumphant homecoming on Sunday and is taking the inevitable extra hype surrounding the match in good humour.
“This will be the first time I will play against Bristol [since leaving]; I’ve had a few texts already and I’m sure there’ll be a bit of banter flying around,” he said.
“Hopefully I get a good reception, but maybe if we win it could be a negative one afterwards. I’m not sure anyone will be buying me a beer after if we win.
“I still live down there as well. I stay up and train in London a few nights a week, but my family is pretty settled there, so I still see quite a few of the guys knocking round.”
The new Greene King IPA Championship season is still very much in its infancy but with the league winners guaranteed promotion this year, any slip-up could prove costly.
The lack of play-offs in the all new system will only add to the importance of Sunday’s game at Ashton Gate, something that is not lost on Townson.
“The game has that special feeling to it, and these are the games you remember if you get the performance right,” he added.
“I won’t be treating this any differently to any other game. It’s not about trying to get one over on your mates, it’s about the team, so my focus will be the same as every other week – we can’t go into our shells.
“You can’t shy away from the fact that this will be a huge game in the context of this season. These are the types of games as players that you want to be involved in.”
Ealing finished third in the league last year and have continued that form into the new season, which started with a 29-28 win over Cornish Pirates.
A 33-26 success at Richmond followed before back-to-back home wins over Bedford Blues and London Scottish, but Townson knows improvements can still be made.
“Even though it’s been a perfect 20 points so far, the first couple of weeks we weren’t particularly happy with our performances,” he said.
“Despite the excellent start we’ve made I still think there is a lot for us to improve on.
“We will have to improve in those areas as we are playing one of the best teams in this league on Sunday, so we are being deliberately critical as we know there’s plenty more to come.
“Points scored against us is pretty good at the moment, but there are of course areas that we can still tidy up on like defence around the ruck.“ There’s a really good buzz around the place at the minute with a lot of competition for places which is bringing out the best in everyone.”