Hartpury announce a much-changed squad to welcome Knights

After a two-week break, Hartpury make a number of changes from the squad that travelled to Jersey as they prepare for the visit of fourth-placed Doncaster Knights this weekend.

The back division has been pretty stable this season and so it remains, with just one change in personnel.  Jack Tovey (pictured) makes his first full start since signing in the summer, but Hartpury supporters will remember that it is not a full debut as he played for the club on a number of occasions back in 2018-19, on loan from the Bristol Bears.

Tovey will slot in at outside centre, with Robbie Smith moving to the wing.  Centre partner, Charlie Foley, will be making his first appearance against the team that he represented for the past four seasons.    

There is a change in the front row, with Will Crane resuming his duties at hooker.  There is also a switch in the second row where, with Cameron Jordan needed at Kingsholm, James Scott will start.

It is all change in the back row.  After two appearances in the Bath Rugby first team squad – including a Premiership debut – Nahum Merigan returns at Number 8.   Either side of him, Harry Short is quickly restored to the open side, while Gloucester and England U20 flanker Josh Gray is rewarded for some good recent performances off the bench with his first start.

There is more shuffling among the replacements.  Aristot ‘Totti’ Benz Salomon, in his Championship debut, provides cover at loose head – twin brother, Jono, has already made his Hartpury debut this season and will be with the Bears tomorrow as they continue their Premiership Cup campaign.  Both are current Hartpury undergraduates.

Covering the tight head position (occupied by his cousin Ciaran) is the welcome figure of Shaun Knight, who will be making his first appearance since pre-season after a knee niggle.

Josh Fenner will provide capability at lock or back row, while Joe Howard and Oli Robinson – the latter confirming his return from a 7-week injury lay-off – will also cover the loose trio.

A 6:2 split means just two backs.  Scrum-half, Toby Venner is another returning from injury and will be hoping to put his hand up for further recognition at Gloucester, while outside back Mat McNab steps up from BUCS Super Rugby for the second time this season.  Venner scored two tries on his last Hartpury appearance in April, although it was also the game in which he picked up his knee injury

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