Canterbury vs Henley Hawks - Saturday, March 23rd, kick-off 3pm
By Nick Pitson
All roads lead to Kent on Saturday as the Henley Hawks travel to play Canterbury RFC in their crucial National 2 (South) fixture, kick off at Canterbury’s Merton Lane Ground is 3pm.
The Hawks currently lie in third place in the league table, just four points behind second placed Canterbury and although there is still much rugby to be played before the season ends, this game should go some way to decide who will finish in the runners up spot behind champions elect, the Rams.
Last week was a break week due to the finale of the Six Nations and it should have done the Hawks squad some good to rest tired bodies following a long season so far. The Hawks are on a seven match winning run since losing to the other Kent side in contention for second place, Tonbridge Juddians back In January. In some of the recent games, the Hawks have made life difficult for themselves at times and not reached the heights of performance they were showing earlier on in the season. However, they are still winning and scoring tries and will travel to Kent in good heart.
Canterbury have secured themselves into second place in the league table with 102 points. They are also on a seven match winning run, their last outing was a 45-13 victory at London Irish Wild Geese. The men from Kent have won 20 of their 25 fixtures so far and with the Rams, have secured the most number of bonus points in the league, 22. Furthermore, they are unbeaten at home this season and have scored 418 points at their Merton Lane Ground so the Hawks will know the challenge that awaits them. In the game at Dry Leas back in November, Canterbury came out on top in a tight game by 32-29.
Head coach Luke Allen has made three changes in the pack. Ian Stock comes in at prop for Brad Cook who is on the bench. Jake Albon returns to the second row, so Sam Lunnon reverts to the back row in place of Marcus Lowe.
Jack Robinson returns to the wing in the only change in the backs.
The replacements have a familiar look about them providing excellent cover and impact.
Henley Hawks line up;
15. Liam O’Neill, 14. Jack Robinson, 13. Xav Andre, 12. Dan Barnes, 11. George Wood, 10. Ben Bolster, 9. Leo Webb, 1. Ian Stock, 2. Tom Emery, 3. Dave Manning, 4. Dave Hyde, 5. Jake Albon, 6. Tom Hall, 7. Sam Lunnon (Capt), 8. Alex Bradley
Reps. 16. Brad Cook, 17. George Primett, 18. Scott White, 19. Marcus Lowe, 20. Ross MacDougall, 21. George Griffiths
Meanwhile, the 3rd (Vikings) XV are also away, to Newbury 2nd XV, kick off is 2.30pm.
The Vets (Vultures) XV are away to Barnes Vets in a league match, kick off 2.30pm.
Supporters planning to travel to any of these fixtures should check kick off times with the club before travelling.
The Henley Hawks Women have no game this week.