Perhaps unsurprisingly – given news of five loanees arriving from Bristol Rugby during the week – Hartpury have named a much-changed squad to travel to Coventry this week. The relationships with both Gloucester Rugby and Worcester Warriors also contribute significantly.
Mat Protheroe is the first name to catch the eye, at 15. The former England U20 player has made many starring appearances in Red & Black over the past few seasons and Hartpury will be hoping that he can introduce the ‘x-factor’ that has been missing so often this campaign.
Ben Foley and Jake Henry bring further experience in the back three.
Also starting for the first time this season is Gloucester fly-half, Lloyd Evans, who will be partnered with the lively Harry Cochrane, after the latter’s good game against the Pirates. Another Gloucester man, Charlie Chapman, is an alternative at 9 off the bench.
Charlie Powell makes his first start after a cameo appearance against Coventry in the reverse fixture.
Up front, Jake Armstrong steps in for his debut at tight-head, while Alex Craig makes a very welcome return to form a strong-looking engine room with skipper Simon Linsell. The back row sees Bristol’s Sam Graham join Hartpury ‘regulars’ Akapusi Qera and Iain Grieve.
There is a good mix of youth and experience on the bench.
Saturday’s game, at the Barkers Butts, kicks off at 3pm.