Hartpury seek Cup progress versus Richmond

Reliable and consistent lock forward, Dale Lemon, is selected for the 20th time this season – the majority of them starts – for tomorrow’s 1st Round, 2nd leg, Championship Cup clash against welcome visitors Richmond.

Lemon is in his second season with the Red & Blacks, having joined from local club Cinderford in the summer of 2019.  Within the current campaign, only backs James Williams and Sam Smith (both 21) have featured in more match-day squads.

In fact, Hartpury are able to stay strong throughout for this fixture, although the reality is that the club do not have an extensive squad to choose from, particularly with many students entering an exam period.

James Dun, Deago Bailey and Will Capon are all available from the Bears while there is a first start in a number of weeks for club co-captain and hooker Will Crane. 

There is a 4/4 split on the bench – perhaps signifying a continued commitment to the running rugby shown in the first leg – with the majority of the starters in the backs being familiar faces.  The exception to this is a starting debut at scrum half for Welshman Rhys Price, a used replacement in leg 1.

Also making a starting debut at this level is loose-head prop, Harry Fry, who distinguished himself in college rugby at Hartpury – winning England age group caps – before signing for the Dragons.

Joe Adams (scrum half) is new name on the bench and stepping up from this season’s Under 18 ACE-winning squad.

Hartpury come into the game carrying a 35-point advantage from the first leg in south-west London, although will be keen to guard against any complacency against a Richmond outfit who are typically tough opponents and, commendably, used the first leg to give match-time to a number of fringe players.

The eventual aggregate winners from Saturday will progress to the next round, most likely against Jersey Reds who hold a similar cushion going into their 2nd leg match against London Scottish. If we achieve the right result, those 2nd round games would be played – in Jersey and at the Alpas respectively – during May.

Tomorrow’s fixture is a 2.30pm kick off.

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