U23s Keep All Options Open
A season condensed into two months poses its own particular problems. However, it still remains that the basics need to be adhered to. And though time is pressing, that for the U23s means taking the right amount of time to look at players in their preferred positions and also all the players available. It is therefore not surprising that after a promising first outing against Hampshire the Royal Navy U23s show a number of changes from Sunday’s team as they host Havant on Wednesday night.
Only Harrison Marsh remains from the starting front row and he moves from prop to his preferred position of hooker. Alongside him are two new props in Chris Robinson and Sam Norton whilst behind them Alex Cragg provides the continuity but is partnered with Nathan Trower.
Skipper Mark Dowds moves in to the backrow with Ben Roberts at Number 8 and one of Sunday’s try scorers, Gavin Elsam, keeps hold of the openside jersey. Dan Holbrook and Lewis Cronin provide an all new half back pairing.
The U23s also field a new centre partnership where Harry Bates and John Menday both start. They will no doubt be looking to create the space for what looks to be an exciting back three. On the wings the Navy U23s welcome back the experience of Rory Penfold and Lewis Cooper whilst Rhys Dimmock-Williams will look to build on his impressive try scoring debut.
With the game being played on HMS Temeraire’s 4G pitch it is sure to be another fast and furious encounter. With Havant having a number of players who were also involved in the Hampshire game it will be interesting to see how both sides build on their strengths from last Sunday and look to eradicate the errors from their game. The Royal Navy showed enough on the weekend that they should approach the match with optimism but will also remain conscious that the November Inter Service matches will be upon they before they know it.
Royal Navy U23 XV v Havant:
Chris Robinson, Harrison Marsh, Sam Norton, Nathan Trower, Alex Cragg, Gavin Elsam, Ben Roberts, Dan Holbrook, Lewis Cronin, Rory Penfold, Harry Bates, John Menday, Luke Cooper, Rhys Dimmock-Williams
Issac Salt, James Griggs, Rob MacGregor, Apenisa Daunibau, Luke Warrington, Sam Mitchell, Mark Burrell
Royal Navy U23 XV v Havant @ HMS Temeraire, Wed 7 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
IDRC Kicks off at US Portsmouth on Thursday 8 Oct
15:00 Japan v New Zealand
19:00 Royal Navy v Fiji
Images by Alligin Photography / © G Ashton Jones