Hartpury have made limited, injury-enforced, changes to the squad that will face Jersey Reds in Round 8 of the 2019-20 Green King IPA Championship season.
The side that battled hard in difficult conditions at the Pirates, before Christmas, will be largely entrusted with the search for a first home victory against the Reds and to continue a winning streak at the Alpas Arena that currently extends to four matches.
One of the changes comes on the wing, where Jake Henry was not considered following a nasty clash of heads in Penzance. Sam Goatley’s return to full fitness is therefore well-timed.
Also returning, on the other side of the pitch, is George Simpson, who missed both of the away trips in December with a leg injury picked up in the win over Doncaster Knights. His inclusion means that Harry Cochrane returns to bench, where he provides cover for starting scrum-half and skipper, Luke Carter.
Dan Koster has suffered a niggling re-occurrence of the injury that kept him out for a stretch in the autumn, so Robbie Smith – who has been impressive off the bench in recent weeks – gets his first start since his full ‘RFC’ debut a year ago. Smith is more regularly seen playing for the university in BUCS Super Rugby.
The forwards are largely unchanged, although there is a first start of the season for Iain Grieve. The former Bristol captain had been side-lined for the first three months of 2019-20, before making a return, as a replacement, in December.
Tiff Eden of Bristol Bears – the only dual-registered player in this week’s squad – who last played for Hartpury in the Cup fixture at Newcastle Falcons, makes a welcome appearance on the bench, where there are also seats for BUCS skipper, back row forward Harry Wilson, and returning tight-head, Mike Flook. Tom Jubb makes his return to the squad after an ankle strain kept him out of the Pirates trip.
Saturday’s match kicks off at the earlier than usual time of 1.30pm.