Hartpury RFC, following last Friday’s encouraging opening-week win over 2017 Championship runners-up, Yorkshire Carnegie, are largely unchanged ahead of the visit to Doncaster Knights this Saturday.
Tight-head, Rupert Harden, who left the field in the first quarter of last week’s game with an ankle injury, is the only non-starter from the original fifteen selected last time out. Student Alex Gibson, who replaced him against Carnegie, takes his place in the front row.
That change creates space in the 22 for Joe Morris, a promising young prop-forward on dual-registration from Worcester Warriors, who will make his league debut for the Red and Blacks.
Joining him on the bench is hooker, Will Tanner, who missed the opening fixture with a dead-leg collected at Cinderford in pre-season. Tom Pashley, Hartpury’s BUCS Super Rugby-winning university skipper from last season, is also among the replacements.
Hartpury showed a new level of resilience and composure to close out the win versus the Yorkshiremen in a tight game last Friday and will need to show a similar level of application if they are to take anything from a team who have consistently been among the Championship leaders in recent seasons.
Doncaster opened up with a defeat at Cornish Pirates last Sunday, but performed well and were close to taking more from the game.
Both matches between these sides last season were entertaining – Hartpury snatching a win at the Gillman’s Ground as a late Harry Randall try completed his hat-trick, before Knights took the spoils, despite Hartpury’s six tries, in the return fixture.
Saturday’s game at Castle Park, Doncaster, is a 2.30pm kick-off.