By Nick Pitson
Old Redcliffians vs Henley Hawks - Saturday, 29th September. Kick-off 3pm
Henley Hawks travel west tomorrow for their latest game in National 2 (South) when they visit the Scotland Lane ground in Bristol to take on Old Redcliffians RFC.
The Hawks will be looking to get back to winning ways after two consecutive defeats and coach Luke Allen will be looking for a response from the players after the disappointing performance in difficult conditions at home to Tonbridge last week.
The team shows six changes, one of those positional from the one that started against Tonbridge. In a search for continuity, the pack is unchanged. Last week each of the forward units were in good form and certainly dominated the set pieces.
The changes are all in the back line where only Connor Morrison keeps his place at centre. Finn Pietersen comes in at full back, Sam Portland returns to the left wing and George Wood starts on the right wing. George Griffiths comes in for his first start at centre, whilst Roddy Giles, who played at full back last week, moves to outside half in place of Joe Butler who is on the bench. The final change is at scrum half where Leo Webb returns in place of Ross MacDougall.
Redcliffians, based in Brislington in Bristol lost their first three games of the current campaign. Close defeats to local rivals Clifton (14-17) and then Birmingham/Solihull (38-42) were followed by a heavy loss at home to Canterbury (21-43). However, they will be buoyed by an impressive (35-15) bonus point victory away at London Irish Wild Geese last Saturday. This was by far their best performance of the season and will be looking to win again to start to pull away from the lower reaches of the table.
The Bristol side were promoted to National 2 (South) two seasons ago and the two games between the Reds and the Hawks last year were close affairs. In Bristol, the sides shared a 25 all draw while the Hawks edged a close match at Dry Leas 22-20. Despite spending much of last season in the relegation zone, Redcliffians produced a great run to win four out of their last five league games to avoid the drop so the Hawks will know they are in for a contest.
15 Finn Pietersen, 14 George Wood, 13 George Griffiths, 12 Connor Morrison, 11 Sam Portland, 10 Roddy Giles, 9 Leo Webb
1Dave Manning, 2 Tom Emery, 3 Rory Mason, 4 Jake Albon, 5 Dave Hyde, 6 Sam Lunnon, 7 Marcus Lowe, 8 Alex Bradley
Brad Cook, George Primett, Adam Neal, Scott White, Joe Butler, Andrew Stobbs
Old Redcliffians RFC, Scotland Lane, Brislington, Bristol, BS4 5LU
Henley Bulls have no game this week but there is rugby at Dry Leas on Saturday for those who cannot travel to Bristol as Henley Vikings take on Redingensians Rams 3rd XV at Dry Leas, kick off 3pm.
Henley Women are also in action on Saturday as they travel to Gloucestershire to take on Cheltenham Women, kick off 3.30pm.