OXFORDSHIRE head coach Greg Goodfellow hopes to boost the profile of county rugby as his side begin a title defence this weekend.

Last year, Oxfordshire claimed the Division Three crown at the Bill Beaumont County Championship.

The preservation of that title gets underway on Saturday with an away clash at Warwickshire, who kicked off their campaign with a 16-14 victory against Notts, Lincs & Derbys last weekend.

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Goodfellow told this newspaper: “They’ve played a game already and got a result. They’re a good outfit and getting a result up there is good.

“We’ll go up there pretty blind but the main thing for is our game plan and if we deliver that, we should do well.

“Training has been pretty good and intense, we’ve got players from nine different teams putting their hand up to play for us.

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“There’s some good competition for places and we’re just trying to drive as much support for the county as we can.

“It’s always tough selecting players, there’ll be guys who are disappointed but my job as head coach is to pick the players who I think will be best for the game against Warwickshire.

“If not selected, there’ll be a chance for the next game and those that do get selected know they have to keep their shirt.”

Chinnor player and coach Goodfellow is putting little pressure on the county side, saying hard work in training will lead to positive results on the pitch.

“There’s no specific aim, all I’ve said is that I want the players to train well, perform well and enjoy it,” he said.

“I’m sure in the back of the players’ minds, they’ll want to get to a final again.

“If you’ve got guys doing well in training and working hard, then the result will look after itself.”

The former Cornwall player hopes to put his time spent in the south west to good effect by getting more players and supporters involved in county rugby in Oxfordshire.

He said: “My experience comes from being involved with Cornwall, and it’s such a different environment down there.

“They live and breathe rugby, and we want that in Oxfordshire.

“County rugby gets bypassed a little bit as the rugby season is a long one, so the boys are doing this because of their love for rugby and their love for the game.

“This is a two, three or four-year plan to get as many teams and supporters behind the county rugby.

“From the coaching side of it, I want to present a real passion for playing for your county, and get that across to the boys.

“The more we make it a big thing, the more it’ll pick up steam.”