Spotlight on London Irish Wild Geese - Match Preview

Wild Geese is the playing name of London Irish Amateur Rugby Club which was founded in 1999 one hundred years after its parent club which was launched in 1898. It is the most successful club founded by the professional Premium League clubs . Last season it gained promotion as champions of National league 3 London and South East by losing only one game in what is considered to be a very competitive Division.

They use the training facilities owned by London Irish at Hazelwood Drive, Sunbury -on- Thames but are not linked with them in playing terms. Indeed they are a very open club as can be judged by the success they achieved in the front row by recruiting Australian twins Mike and Brent Jones last year. They also had two players Matt Cornish and Seb Rodwell, an influential No.8, selected for the England Counties squad which toured Canada.

This year they have found it difficult to win in Division 2 (South) having only won two games to date. However they are, at 13th place in the league, two above the Hawks who have won four games. The crucial difference is the number of bonus points, nine to the Hawks four.

The Hawks continue to lose games narrowly but not by narrow enough margins to earn bonus points. The bottom of the league is very competitive with five of the six clubs just five points apart. Once again the Hawks are not at full strength. Apart from the continued absence through injury of Xavier Andre they will be without Liam O’Neill who will need a week or two to recover from concussion suffered in the second half at Taunton just after he had finished off one of the best movements we have seen this year. Joe Butler and Alan Awcock have work commitments and props Dave Manning and Brad Cook are still not available. Marcus Lowe made an impressive debut at Taunton at No.8, including scoring a try ,and retains his place. David Hyde comes back but at lock, with Dave Clements, having played all but one game this season, taking a turn on the bench.

Both sides today are desperate to earn points to ease their way from the quagmire at the foot of the table and the Hawks will be playing their last game at Dry Leas in 2016 being away at Barnstaple (known as Barum in Devon) next week and then Chinnor away on December 17th. (Keen supporters can take Christmas lunch at Dry Leas before boarding the coach to Chinnor if booked early via the office)

Henley Hawks v London Irish Wild Geese ( kick-off 3.p.m)

15. James Comben, 14. James Stevenson-Wright, 13. Tom Gardner, 12. David Hankinson, 11. Connor Hayhow, 10.Tom Parton, 9. George Jackson, 1. Jim Hadfield, 2. Stuart Philpott, 3. Barnaby Abdale-Weir 4. Jake Albon (capt.), 5. David Hyde, 6. Tom Hall, 7. Connor Morrison, 8. Marcus Lowe

16. Dave Clements.17.Zaki Chamnaoui, 18. Tom Emery, 19. Tommy Haynes, 20 Simon Perry