Hawks set for Crusaders challenge

Henley Hawks vs  Dings Crusaders - Saturday, October 6th, kick-off 3pm

By Nick Pitson

Henley Hawks should be full of confidence following a good win at Old Redcliffians last week. It was a much improved performance from the previous two weeks, particularly from the Henley forwards and they will now be looking to continue a winning run to cement their position towards the top of the table. Although it’s still early into the season, every side in the league has lost at least once and only five points separate the top nine sides so a good opportunity exists for any side who can put a run of victories together.

This week it’s Dings Crusaders who come to town, visiting Dry Leas on Saturday for the latest National 2 (South) fixture, kick off 3pm. It is the second week in a row that the Hawks will face a Bristol based side and they will know they will be in for a fierce contest as Dings are an aggressive side in the true traditions of West Country rugby.

Continuity is good for the Hawks at the moment and coach Luke Allen has made just one change from the starting line up from last weeks game against Old Redcliffians.

Jiute Tupua comes in on the wing for his debut in place of Sam Portland. The rest of the starting fifteen is the same, and the forwards remain unchanged for the third week running.

Dings Crusaders come to Henley on the back of a try fest victory over London Irish Wild Geese last week when they scored eight tries and by all accounts could have had more. Hawks fans will remember the combative wing forward Stean Williams who played for Henley for a few seasons before moving to the Bristol club. He starred in last weeks victory and scored a try and will want to make a good impression against his former club.

Dings were a regular fixture for the Hawks before they were relegated from National 2 (South) in the 2014-15 season. However they bounced back by winning the South West Premier League last season.

They have adapted well so far this season registering three victories, against local rivals Clifton (17-11), Birmingham and Solihull (15-10) and the Wild Geese. They have suffered two defeats to Redruth and Canterbury and currently sit in 10th position in the league.

The last time the two sides met was in the 2014-15 season when the Hawks did the double, winning 58-10 in Bristol and 38-22 at Dry Leas.

Henley Hawks

15 Finn Pietersen, 14 George Wood, 13 George Griffiths, 12 Connor Morrison, 11 Jiute Tupua, 10 Roddy Giles, 9 Leo Webb

1 Dave Manning, 2 Tom Emery, 3 Rory Mason, 4 Jake Albon, 5 Dave Hyde, 6 Sam Lunnon (c), 7 Marcus Lowe, 8 Alex Bradley

Reps:

Brad Cook, George Primett, Adam Neal, Scott White, Joe Butler

Both the Henley Bulls and Vikings have no game this week but there is plenty of rugby for other Henley teams this weekend. Henley Women are in action on Sunday as they travel to Sussex to take on Hove Women in their latest league game, kick off 2.30pm.

Henley Vets are sending two teams to play in the annual Jersey RFC Super 10s Veterans Tournament over this weekend.

Also on Sunday morning, some of Henley’s stars of the future will be in action with the Kids First and Juniors section hosting their own Festival of Rugby. All age groups from U7 to U12 will be taking part in the mixed ability tournament, against other local clubs so there will be a feast of rugby to be enjoyed.

The U13s also have a local derby to look forward to when they take on Marlow at home, while the U14s travel to play Towcester.