SOUTHEND Saxons director of rugby Josh Ward expects Holt to be tougher to beat on Saturday than they were back in September.

Southend saw off Holt 63-5 at Warners Bridge towards the start of the Regional Two Anglia season.

But Ward is certain this weekend’s clash will be much closer.

“I think we’re going to get much more of a challenge than we had back in September,” said Ward.

“We beat them 63-5 but I’m expecting them to be a changed side. “We’re further down the line in the season now and everyone has had more time together.

“We understand they’ve got a few new faces and they’ve shown they can catch sides out.

“They went to Brentwood and won which is no easy task at all which we know first hand and that to me suggests we’ve got a real handful coming our way on Saturday.”

Table-topping Southend made it 10 wins in a row with a 57-5 victory against Stowmarket last time out.

And Ward was delighted to pick up another five points in freezing cold conditions.

“We were desperate to play and when we got there on Saturday morning the pitch was actually soft, which was remarkable when you consider games were off around us including the football,” said Ward.

“The pitch was great and we played really well.

“The first 10 to 15 minutes we were a bit slow to get going but once we played with purpose and intent we played some really good rugby.

“We showed when we’re on it teams struggle to handle us.

“We left a few points out there which we’ll look at because we want to get better but it was very much job done.