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RUGBY UNION: Grove fired up for derby
SOUTH WEST 1 EAST
GROVE are hoping for a bumper crowd when they host Witney in tomorrow’s Oxfordshire derby.
Both sides enter the contest on the back of victories and are level on 14 points, so a tight clash is expected.
“We anticpate quite a big crowd of about 200 people, maybe more” said Grove manager Phil Rennie “We are really fired up from last week when the boys really dug deep to beat Devizes.
“We showed a lot of strength of mind as well as physical strength.
“We are going into the game in a good position and hoping to stave off some more injuries otherwise myself and Craig Burrows (head coach) might have to come out of retirement.”
Hooker Steve Dixey returns from an elbow injury, replacing Jimmy Wallbridge, who has an arm problem himself. Ben Nicholl starts at No 8 after impressing off the bench last week.
Witney captain Jez Hicks is ruled out with a thumb injury, while wing Lewis Collins has gone to Australia.
Flanker Stu Catherall, fly half Phil Thomas and wing James Monks are added to the squad.
“I was looking forward to playing in this one against our local rivals, so I am gutted to be missing out,” said Hicks, who sees a specialist today.
Prop Matt Edney, flanker Ramen Farahani, centre Adam Walsh and wing Allan Johnstone come into the side as unbeaten leaders Oxford Harlequins host Windsor.
Edney replaces Nick Marshall (holiday), while Farahani, who has been “on fire” for Quins’ second team, comes in for Seisoni Tupou (knee injury).
Tupou’s fellow Tongans Mosese Latu and Tavita Manumna are also unavailable as they are playing for a Saracens side on Monday.
Ben Selby is suspended for one week after picking up two yellow cards at Towcestrians, while fellow flanker Sam Bennett is out with a knee injury.
“We hope to start a little bit better on Saturday,” said Quins head of rugby Steve Chadbone.
“We were a bit flat last week.”
Oxford Harlequins (v Windsor, home): Robinson, Johnstone, Walsh, Fisilau, Seals, Norris, Jones, Edney, Rodrigues, Boulton, Brown (capt), Purchase, Battson, Farahani, Achilles. Reps: from Barlow, Neal, Lee, Hilton, Mott.
Grove (v Witney, home): R Sevier, Carr, N Sevier, Bellinger, G Nicholl, Maryon, Gustafson, Eckert (capt), Dixey, Lane, Miles, Haire, Gratwohl, Wells, B Nicholl. Reps: Wiltshire, Andrews, Lewis.
Witney (v Grove, away): from Richens, A Copperwheat, Burke, M Copperwheat, Bennett, C Campbell, Rowles, G Campbell, Clarke, Hyde, Murton, Beasley, H Lamb, Muller, Harris, Strutt, Catherall, Thomas, Monks.
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