As anticipated, there has been a reaction to last week’s display at Richmond, with Hartpury naming a much-changed side for the visit of Ealing Trailfinders tomorrow (2.30pm).
It is an interesting selection, full of youth – particularly in the back division.
The back three has a settled look, with Mike Wilcox starting alongside wingers Ben Foley and Jake Henry. Foley and Henry have both impressed since their moves from Rotherham titans in the summer.
It is all change inside them, however. The centre combination will comprise of Hartpury students Jack Reeves – making his RFC debut – and Tom Seabrook, who have recently represented England at U18 and U20 respectively.
Seabrook made his Premiership debut for Gloucester Rugby late last season – scoring a try versus Saracens – while Reeves stood out for Hartpury’s U18 AASE-winning side. Both are on academy contracts at Kingsholm.
Looking to set them free will be former two-time BUCS Super Rugby winner, fly-half Sam Leeming. Leeming played National League rugby for Hartpury in the outstanding 2016-17 season and made a bright showing as a second-half replacement at Richmond last week, following the head injury to Luke Cozens.
Richard Bolt offers experience in the 9 jersey.
There are also changes in the pack where impressive Hartpury graduate, Alex Craig, returns after missing the past two games. He will be joined in the second row by promising young Worcester Warriors DR, James Scott.
Scott made a cameo appearance late in the game with Cornish Pirates, but this will be his first Championship start for Hartpury.
There is a debutant in the back-row where James Dun, a recent DR acquisition from the Bristol Bears, starts on the blindside, where his 6’4” frame will provide some useful bulk and athleticism. He joins the seasoned duo of Rob Langley and former Bristol skipper, Iain Grieve.
The bench has a more familiar look, although there is also a first inclusion for Charlie Powell, whose arrival on dual-registration, also from the Bears, was announced today.
It is an exciting looking line-up and, whilst new combinations may take a little time to settle, gives the Hartpury coaching staff some interesting options in the weeks to come.