After a fortnight’s break from competitive action Ampthill get their National One season going again at home to Hull Ionians this afternoon.
With five games to play the A’s are third in the division and runners up position is still very much the club’s ambition, as director of rugby Mark Lavery said: “Anything above last-season’s fourth-place finish will be an improvement, third will be progress but second would be good.
“We’ve had to freshen up this week; we were poor at Coventry, we expect more.
“We’ve now got five games to play, it doesn’t matter about the 25 we’ve already played, we’ve had to focus on resetting our season.
In Ampthill’s pack Brett Sturgess and Matt Collins partner former Tongan international hooker Aleki Lutui in the front row, with Karl Braband and Paino Hehea at lock; Will Allman switches to blindside as wing forward Joe Bercis returns at 7; Maama Molitika starts at eight.
Former England 7’s Skipper Kev Barrett starts at scrum half, renewing his half back partnership with Joe Tarrant; Elliott Reeder starts alongside Will Goodge in the centre, with Karim Lynch and Pete Weightman on either wing in front of full back, former Bedford Blue, Steff Jones.
Ampthill’s forward replacements are duel-registered Saints hooker Reece Marshall, Bedford Blues loanee Charlie Robinson, and Loti Molitika, with Sam Hanks and Mitchell offering backs cover.
“We’ve made a few changes for the gam. The tight five have another opportunity to prove they’re worthy of the jersey,” added Lavery.
“Goodge gives us a bit more solidity in defence and it’s good to have Alex Mitchell available again, back from his U20 England grand slam success.”
Kick off at Dillingham Park is 3pm