Hartpury able to name a strong side for Exiles visit

Hartpury return to competitive action for the first time in three weeks tomorrow (2.30pm), when they play their re-arranged Green King IPA Championship fixture at home to London Scottish.

The starting fifteen shows a number of changes from that which last took the field, in the high-scoring defeat at Doncaster Knights in mid-February.

Perhaps the most significant news is the re-appearance of former England U20 scrum-half Harry Randall and his Gloucester academy colleague, lock forward Alex Craig.  Both started the season in great form for the Red & Blacks, before injuries struck.

Tom Hudson, a player who has had something of a breakthrough at Kingsholm this season, is also available following his try-scoring performance against Nottingham in the last home fixture, which produced an emphatic 39-20 victory.  He will play on the wing, with Mike Wilcox lining up at 15.

Sam Bedlow and George Perkins, in the three-quarters, continue their loan spell from Bristol, while back row forward Will Safe enjoys an extended run in the side.

The front row has more than a whiff of Kingsholm about it, where Dan Murphy (skipper) and Darren Dawidiuk start a game together for the first time in a few seasons.  This will be Dawidiuk’s first start in any game since he was treated for cancer at the beginning of the season.

Rupert Harden is absent, meaning that the Gloucester reunion is not quite complete, but former Worcester Warriors tight-head Mike Daniels slots neatly into the 3 shirt.

Hartpury also have some good options on the bench.  Another England U20 man, prop forward Ciaran Knight is there and it is good to see club captain Rhys Oakley and ex-Bristol skipper Iain Grieve ready to play again for the first time in 2018.

Centre Steve Leonard is thought to be close to a return, but will not be risked this week.  Youngsters Tom Seabrook and Charlie Chapman, who would have played last week, are now away on international duty.

Head Coach, Mark Cornwell, fully expects a tough encounter.

“They are in a very similar situation to us.  We are close to each other in the league and, like us, they have had the same issues of being inconsistent and losing out in a few tight games.”

“They can drop in big performances – their high-scoring draw with Bedford comes to mind – and they have definitely got a threat with ball in hand.”

“They will be keen to get one back on us after we snatched a win with a last minute, 90-metre try at their place.”

The try referred to was scored by Mike Wilcox and brought a narrow 15-13 win at the Athletic Ground back in October.

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