Hartpury look strong for Ampthill visit

Hartpury make just one change to the starting XV, which did so well at Castle Park, for Saturday’s final home game of the regular RFU Championship season.

Ethan Hunt sustained a cut to the forehead relatively early in last week’s match, meaning that his replacement in that game, Will Capon, immediately follows up his club debut with his first start in Red &Black.  Capon – not surprisingly for a player of his pedigree – made good impression at Doncaster and is backed up by the experienced Luke Stratford.

The other changes are all on the bench and, even then, fairly limited in number.

Robbie Smith and Conor Maguire – both missing at Doncaster as a result of concussion protocols – come straight back in, meaning that Hartpury have luxury of their joint-leading try-scorer and a former Gloucester prop of proven ability to bring on at some point in the game.

With the exception of Stratford, the rest of the bench is unchanged.

This means a second successive start for scrum half Oscar Lennon and for full-back Tommy Mathews.  Lennon was neat and efficient at 9 last week, while current student Mathews, originally envisaged as playing at 10 or 12, was calmness personified under a number of high balls launched his way in blustery conditions.

Mathews (pictured on team sheet) is also a player who may know Ampthill better than most, as he spent some time there on dual registration from Northampton Saints in the 2019-20 season, playing against Hartpury in the final game before the league was closed down by Covid.  Back-up scrum-half Ollie Wynn has also spent some time at Dillingham Park.

Long term absentees include co-captains Will Crane and JB Bruzulier, while both George Simpson and Harry Short remain side-lined with rib injuries.

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