U23 XVs Look to Continue Progress As They Enter Phase 2

Greg Loydall returns to the U23XV squad after playing against Japan in IDRC 2015
Gareth Rees is once more given the starting scrum half role
Gavin Elsam will be looking to consolidate his growing reputation on the openside flank
Rhys Dimmock-William has been solid in defence and exciting on the counter attack for the U23 XV
Harrison Marsh (centre) moves from hooker to prop with Joe Burton (left) looking to make an impact from the bench
Nick Burgess forms a new halfback pairing with Gareth Rees

The busiest of Autumn programmes for Navy Rugby continues on Sunday when the U23XV travel to play Ealing Trailfinders at Old Merchant Taylors ground near Northwood.  They will seek to continue the progress they made against Hampshire and Havant before they host Chichester on Wednesday night at HMS Temeraire, Portsmouth.

Ben Roberts has been given the responsibility to captain the team, with the Number 8 having enjoyed a couple of very strong performances already this season.  Sam Norton retains his position at prop with Isaac Salt continuing at hooker and Harrison Marsh completing the front row.  Alex Cragg and Dan Mason remained unchanged in the second row with Mark Dowds continuing at six and Gavin Elsam providing the scavenging skills on the openside.

The team see a change at half back with Gareth Rees back to start at scrum half and Nick Burgess once more at flyhalf.  Dan Holbrook moves from nine to inside centre pushing Harry Bates on to the wing and forming a new mid-field partnership with George Gissing.  Rhys Dimmock-Williams starts for the third match at fullback and Rory Penfold retains his place on the wing to complete the starting line up.

On the replacements bench Greg Loydall and Joe Burton both join from the IDRC squad having been prominent in the win over Japan.  The bench is once more extended as the U23s look to ensure all the squad are given game time as they continue they build up to the Inter Services in November.

Royal Navy U23 XV v Ealing Trailfinders:
Sam Norton, Isaac Salt, Harrison Marsh, Alex Cragg, Dan Mason, Mark Dowds, Gavin Elsam, Ben Roberts (C), Gareth Rees, Nick Burgess, Rory Penfold, Dan Holbrook, George Gissing, Harry Bates, Rhys Dimmock-Williams

Tom Bond, Joe Burton, Joe Gatenby, Sam Stewart, Nathan Trower, Greg Loydall, Apenisa Daunibau, Rob MacGregor, Craig Jones, James Griggs

Next U23 XV Match
Ealing Trailfinders Academy v Royal Navy U23 XV @ Old Merchant Taylors RFC Sun 18 Oct KO 14:00
Royal Navy U23 XV v Chichester U23 @ HMS Temeraire, Wed 21 Oct KO 19:00

Inter Service Championship Matches
RAF U23 XV v Royal Navy U23XV @ RAF Halton, Wed 11 Nov KO 13:30
Royal Navy U23 XV v Army U23 XV @ US Portsmouth RFC, Wed 18 Nov KO 19:00

Images by Alligin Photography / © G Ashton Jones