SIMON MOAT is back in charge of York Lokomotive ARLC – and his first priority is to bolster the team’s fitness ahead of their new season.

Increased work commitments mean Jon Hough, who was head coach last year, has taken a step back for now.

Veteran player Moat – one of the men at the helm when the club was set up in 2008 as the first amateur outfit in the Minster city to play summer rugby – has taken over on a temporary basis.

“I’ve just stepped in with a view to Jon doing something again later in the year or next year,” said Moat, who had been player-coach with York Groves before they switched to the summer conference and re-formed as the Lokos – an expansion club in partnership with the York RI sporting organisation.

“We’re two weeks into training now and we had 22 players at our first session and 25 last week, which is pretty good really. We’re hoping to have a good season.”

That campaign, in the Yorkshire Men’s League group two, which also features Heworth ‘A’, begins in the first weekend of May.

The Lokos finished fifth of nine teams last year but are aiming for the top two this year, and, while Jonny Cambridge and Dec Malarkey return to boost the ranks after a year in Australia, Moat also reckons improved fitness could be key.

“There’s a new emphasis,” he said. “We’re working very much on fitness this pre-season.

“We worked more on skills last year but perhaps to the detriment of fitness. We’re hoping that can make a difference.”