Hartpury much-changed for Bedford Blues trip

After two games in which injuries have played a significant part – following several weeks of being largely unafflicted – it will be a much-changed Hartpury squad that will take to the field at Bedford Blues tomorrow (3pm).

Those injuries have been compounded by unavailability for a variety of other reasons, meaning that the club is using all of its resources to field a competitive outfit for what is traditionally a tough encounter.

One pleasing inclusion is former Hartpury student Alex Seville (pictured, left), making his return to the Red & Black for the first time since Hartpury’s early experiences in Championship Rugby. 

Since finishing his college education here, Gloucestershire-local Seville has been contracted to Gloucester Rugby, making a number of Premiership and other first XV appearances.  His most recent start, at loose head, was the small matter of an away fixture at Saracens earlier this month (think Vincent Koch on the opposite tight-head), in which he contributed a full 72 minutes to an impressive Cherry & White victory.

A current university student, Ethan Hunt (image below), is to be congratulated for winning his first Championship start after a string of impressive appearances from the bench.  We’ve seen enough to know that he won’t be letting anybody down.

The more experienced Shaun Knight completes the front row and they will be assisted by the second-row combination of Dale Lemon and Cam Jordan.  The breakaway trio will be Aled Ward, Josh Gray and open-side Harry Short, who is still among the Championship leading try-scorers.

Ethan Hunt – first start

Toby Venner and James Williams form the exciting half-back partnership and, despite changes, there is no lack of experience outside.  Former Bear, Jack Tovey, after a 20-minute ‘blow’ off the bench last week, makes his first start of 2022 and joins Robbie Smith in the centres.  A back three of Ben Foley, Sam Smith and George Simpson complete the starting line-up.

The bench is largely familiar and with recent Championship experience, although there is a first appearance for prop-forward Jenson Boughton, an age-group England international and, like Seville, a former Hartpury College student.  He is now in the Elite Academy at partners Gloucester and recently saw some first team action in the Premiership Cup.

Joe Howard, Oscar Lennon and Mat McNab all back up appearances in the Wednesday night BUCS Super Rugby fixture against Exeter University, during which McNab was a scorer.

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