Hartpury have named the squad that will face up to local giant Gloucester Rugby in Friday’s final pre-season run-out.
The game, which will kick off at 5.30pm at Kingsholm as part of a double-header that will feature another Gloucester XV versus Scarlets Rugby of West Wales, is part of this season’s testimonial for long-serving Gloucester flyer and former Hartpury College student, Charlie Sharples (pictured). Sadly, due to an injury collected in last week’s trip to Leinster, there is no likelihood of Charlie running out against his former college, but there is still plenty to be interested about in the game and in the Hartpury selection.
The starting front row from the past two matches have been given a rest, meaning no playing return to Kingsholm for former Cherry & Whites prop forwards Dan Murphy and Rupert Harden. Mike Flook and promising tight-head Alex Gibson start this game, with Luke Stratford between them.
BJ Edwards has recovered from the knock that kept him out of the Rosslyn Park match and will partner Alex Craig – so impressive against Park – in the engine room. An experienced back row contains skipper Rhys Oakley at Number 8, with Mat Gilbert and Rob Langley – formerly an academy player at Gloucester – on the flanks.
There will be plenty of pace in the back three of full-back Mike Wilcox, plus wingers Harry Cochrane and Ed Sheldon. Luke Eves and George Boulton will form a robust midfield, with Harry Randall and James Williams pulling the strings from half back.
An 11-man bench will all be hoping to get some game time, among them hooker Henry Walker who will be making his first appearance in Hartpury colours.
Along with Walker, it will be an interesting night for a number of other Gloucester Rugby youngsters, who will be turning out against their parent club. In addition to Walker, this includes Craig and Randall from the starting XV, as well as Will Safe who is on the bench.
Before the Gloucester game, Hartpury have a home fixture versus Clifton RFC (tomorrow, 7.30pm). The Hartpury selection will feature both RFC and BUCS players, including some who will be ‘doubling up’ for both games. Both match-day selections are listed below:
Vs Clifton RFC (Thursday, 7.30pm) Maliq Holden, Aquile Smith, Dave McIlwaine, Jamie Forrester, Alex Ducker, Sam Leeming, Robbie Shaw; Des Merrey, Will Crane, Josh Ibuanopke, Joe Quinn, Rob Fuller, Joe Dancer, Tom Pashley, Harry Wilson. Replacements: Tom Heard, Wayne Thompson, Cameron Harrison, Harry Butler, Harry Agnew, Callum Bowden, Cameron Brown, Dan Cole, Nick Carpenter, Victor Pisano, Alex Forrester.
Vs Gloucester Rugby (Friday, 5.30pm) Mike Wilcox, Harry Cochrane, Luke Eves, George Boulton, Ed Sheldon, James Williams, Harry Randall; Mike Flook, Luke Stratford, Alex Gibson, BJ Edwards, Alex Craig, Rob Langley, Mat Gilbert, Rhys Oakley. Replacements: Tom Heard, Des Merrey, Henry Walker, Joe Dancer, Joe Quinn, Iain Grieve, Darrel Dyer, Will Safe, Jamie Forrester, Jacob Perry, Elias Caven.