GOOD LUCK SKIP - NEW AND OLD
JUST sometimes rugby and sport has to take a backseat and so it is this weekend with the Raiders captain missing the trip to Shelford.
Lewis Hillier could well be a first-time father in the next couple of days and with him understandably keen to be alongside his partner at the big moment, the regular captain is not setting foot out of the island this weekend.
‘We’ve known about it for nine months,’ joked the head coach, who is also having to do without an injured Tom Ceillam, the official deputy, and has handed the captaincy duties to Douglas Horrocks.
‘It’s a loss losing Lewis, but at the same time we have been preparing for it for a long time and when he missed games earlier in the season “Mez” (Nick Merrien) has taken over and done well. He’s more than capable,’ said the coach.
In a largely unchanged team from the one that saw off Guildford last weekend, Luke Sayer also misses out, that the result of a bang on the knee which is not regarded as too serious.
As for Ceillam’s prognosis, the news is good.
‘He has seen John, the physio, a few times and he has still got a little pain, but the signs are promising and the idea is to get him back for the Barnes game.’
As for Shelford, Reynolds expects them to be on the good side of their Jekyll and Hyde features and a whole lot different to the side we swept aside 52-0 at home earlier in the season.
‘They signed a few overseas players just before the cut-off point in the season, who could potentially make a difference. I'm that on their 3G pitch they will want to throw the ball around a bit.’
Reynolds has been hammering home the need for his side to get their heads right and not let their growing advantage at the top of the table to slip.
‘It is just as big as the Barnes game for us.
‘We have to make sure we are at our best and it all comes down to mindset.’
Sam Steventon, Charlie Currie, Layton Batiste, Nick Merrien, Dale Martin, Dan Hill, Robin Le Cocq, Doug Horrocks (capt); Barnes, Thomas, Armstrong, N.Brown, Jones, Campbell, Whitehead.
Replacements: Craine, J. Batiste, K. Brown.
COLLOMPTON NEXT FOR THE LADIES...
IN THEIR own Saturday away game kickoff, our Ladies squad return to action after a three-week break.
They will be without regular skipper Jemma Crouse, as well as Carly Duchemin, Heidi Mahy and Justeen Baker for the trip to Cullompton.
As a result, Vicki Rang will move from full back to scrum half and take on the captaincy, while Lucy Pratt fills the full back position having missed the previous game due to attending the RFU Centre of Excellence Trials.
Fiona Ashworth moves back to 10 having started the last game at outside centre and Chelsie Blondel-Power moves to 13 from the wing allowing Sophie Ferbrache a start on the left and Lael Hollingworth will start on the opposite wing.
In the forwards the only real change sees Janelly Le Maitre starting at tighthead in place of Heidi Mahy.
Coach Chris Griffiths says that it is important to finish the season strongly, even if relegation seems all but certain.
‘There is little we can do now to get off the bottom of the league table but we have played really well since Christmas improving with every game and we have seen those improvements lead to results for us and we want to finish the season strongly, both against Cullompton and next weekend against Drybrook at home.
‘We want to get at least one more win before the league season finishes and perform strongly in both games to prove to ourselves and to show the RFU that we can compete at this level even if ultimately we do have to make the step down next season.’
Michaela Rabey, Michelle Schofield, Janelly Le Maitre, Ellie Whittles, Kristine Vavere, Tanya Scholtz, Fiona Power, Rachel Merrien, Vicki Rang (capt), Fiona Ashworth, Sophie Ferbrache, Hannah Guilbert, Chelsie Blondel-Power, Lael Hollingworth, Lucy Pratt.
Replacements: Andrea Harris, Sophie O'Connell, Chloe Williams, Rebekah Fant