Rotation is again in evidence as Hartpury shuffle the pack for Friday’s visit of unbeaten Doncaster Knights.
Hartpury have a large playing squad and, following a nine month pre-season, are keen to provide game-time to quality players who have trained hard, without the reward of matches, throughout that period.
Into the starting XV come Wil Partington and Tom Stanton, at full-back and wing respectively. Winger Ben Foley – four tries in two matches already this season – and the inside backs are all retained from last week’s trip to Bedford.
In the pack, hooker Nick Selway gets his first start for the club after two appearances as a replacement. The second of these included his first try for Hartpury, when he got on the end of a well-executed lineout drive at Bedford. The props (both starting and on the bench) remain the same for the third game running.
Also coming in after two weeks on the bench is lock forward Scott Russell. The former Coventry man joins starting skipper, Dale Lemon, in the engine room and his inclusion means that, along with Partington and Will Flinn, he is one of three former Bath University students in a team traditionally dominated by Hartpury old boys.
Among the latter, of course, is flanker Will Safe. He is now fit to return, after missing last week following a head knock sustained against Richmond, and lines up alongside former Cardiff Met man Aled Ward – two tries in his first two matches – and former Hartpury BUCS Super Rugby skipper, Harry Wilson.
George Simpson, Ehize Ehizode and club co-captain, Will Crane, all move to the bench. Also there, making his first appearance as an ‘RFC’ player, is young lock forward Arthur Clark, a Hartpury Agriculture student who is in the Gloucester Academy and also recently named in the England Under-20 squad.
Safe’s return means that the only injury absentees are Luke Stratford (jaw) and winger Jack Johnson, who is still recovering from a concussion suffered in the opening round. As a side note, last Friday’s match at Bedford saw no injuries at all – in fact the medical team were not required to take to field at all in the full 80 minutes. Nobody can remember this happening before.
Friday’s Greene King IPA Championship fixture will kick off at 7.30pm. Live-stream coverage will commence at 7.10pm and supporters of both clubs are reminded that you can watch what promises to be an exciting match, live and on-line. Access is available HERE