PROMOTED Malvern have been dealt a blow ahead of the new Midlands One West season with director of rugby Rob Cook ruled out of action until December.

The former Gloucester full-back confirmed he sustained a dislocated wrist in preparation for the 2018-19 campaign.

But Cook said he was now looking forward to focusing on coaching Malvern who visit Old Halesonians tomorrow (3pm).

The Spring Lane outfit gained promotion from Midlands Two West (South) after finishing second behind Droitwich with 19 wins from 22 games.

However, Cook admitted some of his players received an “eye-opener” to life in the sixth tier of English rugby last weekend when they were thrashed 64-9 by league rivals Bromsgrove in the North Midlands Cup.

“I think we are in a decent place even though the result against Bromsgrove does not suggest that,” Cook said.

“I was happy with the squad we put out last Saturday.

“The score after 50 minutes was 24-9 and if we had scored at that point we would have been right back in the game.

“We made some silly mistakes in the first half which gave Bromsgrove a platform to build on.

“But they are a very good side and have got to be up there as favourites this year.

“In the last 30 minutes our fitness levels dropped. We weren’t used to the pace of the league above and struggled. But it is a learning curve and we now know what we have got to do.”

Cook said he was also without 15 first-team players for the cup clash due to “various reasons” but insisted he had strengthened his squad this summer.

Wing Brad Smith is among their new recruits having made the move from Droitwich and Cook reckons his side will improve as the season progresses.

“Last season we had a squad of 21 or 22 whereas this year we have got nearly 30 which we can turn to,” Cook said.

“We played really well last year but as you could see (in the match against Bromsgrove) there is a big step up in standard. I thought we would be alright and I still think we will be but we are going to have to work hard.”

On facing Old Halesonians, Cook added: “They were two leagues above us last year.

“I think they are quite a young side and play a fast game but we are going to go out there and give it our best shot.”