Tarrant and Sturgess miss out as Ampthill head to Blaydon

Ampthill head to Blaydon this afternoon
Ampthill head to Blaydon this afternoon

Ampthill RFC travel up to Tyneside to play struggling Blaydon in round 27 of their National One season this afternoon.

With four games remaining both sides sit eight points behind the team above them in the division, as Ampthill chase second-place Plymouth while Blaydon are in the bottom three, eight points from safety.

Director of rugby Mark Lavery said: "They are desperate to avoid the drop, so that makes a tough place to go even tougher. They are a National One side in everything they do, they’ve been playing at this level a long time.

“We let ourselves down away at Coventry and last week against Hull we partially reset our season – this weekend it’s important to get that Coventry game completely out of our system and fully hit the reset button”.

Ampthill have been forced to make changes following a couple of injuries in training this week; fly half Joe Tarrant misses the rest of the season through a broken ankle while prop forward Brett Sturgess is out with a broken hand.

James Wright is brought in at loosehead to replace Sturgess in the front row alongside tighthead prop Matt Collins and former Tongan international hooker Aleki Lutui; Ben Gulliver is fit for selection again and partners Paino Hehea in the second row with Joe Bercis [openside], Sid Blackmore [blindside] and Maama Molitika completing the Ampthill pack.

Former England 7’s skipper, Kev Barrett [scrum half], forms a half back partnership with former Bedford Blue Steff Jones [fly half], with Will Goodge [12] and Elliott Reeder [13] in the centre, and Sam Baker [11], Pete Weightman [14] and Karim Lynch [15] completing the Ampthill starting XV.

“We’ll need to be en pointe” said Lavery “Blaydon have one of the most effective scrums in the competition, though with two of the U20 England grand slam winners on the bench, we’re alright”.

Saracens duel-registered forward Ralph Adams-Hale, Saints duel-registered Reece Marshall, and Loti Molitika offer forward cover with Alex Mitchell and Mickey Wilson match day backs replacements.

Kick off at Blaydon’s Crow Tree Ground is at 2.30pm.