HAVING been runners-up in the last two seasons, Ealing are hoping third time is a charm this coming season. 

Two years ago the London side finished 20 points behind Greene King IPA Championship winners Bristol in second, while they were 13 points adrift of champions London Irish last season but they are determined to end this trend in 2019/2020.

Ahead of the 11th edition of the league, which begins on October 11, first team captain Rayn Smid believes the key to achieving this target will be managing the squad's workload during busy periods.

Speaking from the Greene King IPA Championship launch event at Twickenham Stadium ahead of the 2019/20 season he said: “Going one better is our goal. We’ve finished second for two years in a row and no one likes being a runner-up. Promotion is the ultimate goal.

“I think we need to recognise the ebbs and flows of a long season to improve. Take the Richmond game, we had played Pirates twice on the bounce and I think naturally from there there’s going to be a trough of energy because you’ve expended a lot in those two games.

“We need to recognise it by switching it up a bit and making a few changes in the training week.”

Despite coming up short in the league once again, the Trailfinders did secure silverware last year in the form of the RFU Championship Cup, where they beat London Irish 23-17 in the final.

This positive, along with a more stable pre-season this year compared to 12 months ago fills Smid with confidence that Ealing are heading in the right direction.

He added: “All in all, last year was a successful campaign for us because we did come away with the cup but there were just a few crucial games we failed to come out on top in.

“There was Bedford away where we lost by three, four points and Richmond we lost in the last minute. Those were two winnable games that we just let up on where we couldn’t close the gap on Irish because of how they turned out.

“On the flip side we had so many new players come in as we try to make that next step so this year there’s less of a turnover and we’re hoping to go one step further now.

“I’m very excited to get going. We feel like we’ve taken the right steps every single season and now we can take the next one to our goal.”

The Greene King IPA Championship is the second tier of professional rugby in England. To keep up to date with the latest news and features follow @ChampRugby on Twitter