OEs host Devon club Topsham at College Meadow, bidding for a place in the last four of the competition for the first time since 2014.
It’s comfortably the biggest game of what has been an outstanding campaign so far against a strong Topsham side who are unbeaten in all competitions this season.
Elthamians go into the last eight showdown full of confidence after lifting the Kent Cup last Sunday (pictured) with an emphatic 36-12 win over local rivals Bromley.
“The game against Bromley was treated as a one-off and the target is to keep improving game on game,” Jervis said. “I think we did that on Sunday which was reflected in the performance and ultimately the score given that our two previous meetings this year have been much closer.
“That will be the same on Sunday and by installing a strong leadership group within the squad, it is their job to make sure that complacency does not creep in. The boys are very excited and if they channel this in the right way I am sure they will put on a good spectacle.”
He added: “There is no such thing as the perfect performance so yes, there are lots of areas that we want to improve on. We have sat down as a group to look at these and while we have addressed some of them, the next game will always bring with it areas for improvement.”
Other than their results this season, Sunday’s opponents are a relatively unknown quantity as Jervis admits, but he is expecting another close fought contest. “As with any opposition at this stage we know very little and will just be concentrating on our own processes,” he said. “You tend to pigeon-hole west country teams as being big, forward-orientated teams, but we will certainly be taking nothing for granted and will be ready for the challenge.”
Topsham reached the quarter-final stage of the competition with a 31-5 over southwest rivals Wimborne, while Elthamians beat a powerful Bishop’s Stortford side, 27-5, at College Meadow with a performance that delighted OEs head coach.
“The boys stepped up a level against a combative Stortford side,” Jervis said. “Our defence was outstanding at times which is the foundation that is essential for the best teams.
“Under some testing conditions I thought our discipline was the best it has been all year. That might sound weird given we picked up three yellow cards but I thought we might have been unlucky with a couple of them and then to defend for a short time on our line with only 13 players and not concede a try showed real character.”
He continued: “What is most pleasing is how tight the group is and how they battle together and celebrate together. They are playing some outstanding rugby as they get to know each others’ game better each time they step on to a rugby field.”
Updated 11:58 - 1 Apr 2019 by Jon Edwards
OEs Colts v Topsham kicks off at 1.30pm on Sunday at College Meadow. All supporters very welcome!