TAUNTON Titans head coach Tony Yapp believes that his side has what it takes to thrive at National 1 level, after being declared National 2 South champions last Friday.

The season came to a premature end due to the coronavirus shutdown, but the Rugby Football Union (RFU) used a points formula in order to maintain promotion and relegation.

The Titans were confirmed as champions ahead of Tonbridge Juddians, meaning that they will be playing in the third tier of English rugby next season.

READ MORE: Titans promoted to English rugby's third tier

Their celebrations were unusual ones, though, as the squad has been unable to meet up in light of the ongoing social distancing measures.

Yapp told the County Gazette: "I was reluctant to get too excited until it was confirmed.

"It's a little bit surreal, having achieved something so big, to not be together.

"That's been quite difficult, but there have been plenty of messages and videos.

"Once the situation allows, we can meet up to celebrate properly."

There was also cause for celebration when it was announced that Gary Kingdom was the division's top points scorer, and that Isaac Dalton had been named player of the season.

Yapp said: "With Gary's award, you could see it coming week on week, with him being at the top of the points leaderboard.

"It's great for him, as it shows his consistency in playing so many games.

"I'm so pleased for Isaac - he's one of those players who doesn't believe just how good he is.

"He's worked so hard, and as well as the try scoring, he's been so good in the scrum, so consistent, and he's a great character to have around."

For Yapp, the title win comes as just reward for years of hard work.

"It's been a natural progression for us, not something we've stumbled upon, as the years before we'd been there or thereabouts at the top.

"This year the depth of the squad has been better, allowing us to bring different players in for games and not lose momentum.

"Our home record has been key; we wanted to have another unbeaten season at home, and I'm confident that we could have won our last three home games."

A 20-5 victory over main rivals Tonbridge was crucial in giving his side the belief that they could win the league, the head coach said.

"The Tonbridge win was a big turning point in the belief of the players.

"A lot of our players come from the league below, so they're not sure about facing the top teams.

"The Tonbridge result convinced the players that they were good enough for National 1.

"After the Redruth game, we all bought in to the idea that 'you have to believe it to achieve it'."

Looking ahead, does Yapp believe that his side can compete at the level above?

"I think so," he said.

"It's been our goal, and the facility we have is more than capable of hosting National 1 games.

"The structure of the club is excellent and we've had good numbers coming through the gate.

"The squad hasn't been put together in the last 12 months, it's been over the last five to eight years.

"The key in bringing players in was making sure they were good enough for the step up to National 1.

"There will be some new players of course, to add even greater depth and experience.

"We're looking to be in a position to stabilise and do well, not just scramble to stay up."

Yapp concluded: "It's very special - it's the highest the club has ever been.

"This is the third tier of English rugby, and we'll be facing real heavyweights, rubbing shoulders with teams who have great rugby pedigree and quality.

"That's great for us, so we're excited to play once this [coronavirus situation] all blows over."