Atherton calls for Ipswich improvement

RUGBY UNION: Humbled by Hadleigh in the Cup last weekend, Ipswich Rugby Club will be hoping to bounce back against League high-flyers Old Albanians at Humber Doucy Lane tomorrow.


HUMBLED by Hadleigh in the Cup last weekend, Ipswich Rugby Club will be hoping to bounce back against League high-flyers Old Albanians at Humber Doucy Lane tomorrow.

Poor discipline cost Ipswich dearly after a bright start against Hadleigh, and considerable emphasis has been made this week by the coaching staff on improving the attitude of the players.

"We simply have to concentrate more on the game, and not argue with refereeing decisions," said Ipswich coach Guy Atherton.

"There was far too much back chat last Saturday, which must be cut out, and we have to stop

giving away silly penalties.

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"We need to concentrate at crucial times when the opposition have the ball and keep our minds on the game plan."

Atherton said he had been impressed by the standard of the Ipswich play in the opening half an hour against Hadleigh.

"We totally dominated to start with and they did not get anywhere near our 22-metre line. But we failed to turn that pressure into sufficient points and had only one try to show for our efforts," added Atherton.

"Then we fell apart in the second half, we have had a long chat with the players about the manner of that defeat and they all know what is expected of them to put things right this Saturday."

Second in the table Old Albanians will provide a huge test for Ipswich. The Hertfordshire side are forward dominated team and have lost only one league game all season. Last year Ipswich lost away at St Albans but recorded a victory in the return at Humber Doucy Lane. There are several team changes from the side that went down 32-10 to Hadleigh.

Bryn Kerr suffered a back injury and his place at scrum half is taken by Ollie Hall. Simon Hughes and Jez Brotherton return in the centre at the expense of Ollie Johnson and Brian Caley who both dropped out of the Magpies.

Prop Rob Thomas, who was carried off with concussion last Saturday, will be out for three weeks and there is a major reshuffle in the forwards.

Dan Garbutt, who came on as replacement prop, plays at number eight, Alex Briggenshaw moves back into the second row and Rob Shurety drops down to the replacements' bench.

Also on the replacements' bench hooker Martin Holland, to allow Danny Reeve to start the match in the front row. Mark Harding, unavailable last Saturday, returns at full back in place of Jon Searle.

As a result of the first team changes, Ipswich Magpies field a strong looking three-quarter line at home to Norwich Seconds.

Ollie Johnson lines up at scrum half and outside him will be three players who have all turned out for the first team this season, Ally Kerr, Christian Hadwen and Brian Caley.

Manager Nick Hall said: "If our front five can hold their own and provide good ball, then I'm sure we have a set of backs who can do very well."

Ipswich Under-16s are away on tour this weekend in the Penarth area of Wales.

There will be a farewell party in the clubhouse on Saturday night for South African Ace Van Heerden who will be making his last appearance for the club.

After a short holiday in Australia he is planning to settle back in his native country after several years with Ipswich. All old friends and members will be welcomed at the farewell.

Ipswich v Old Albanians Ipswich: Williams, Reeve, Clarke, Briggenshaw, Price, Eley, Primmer, Garbutt, Hall, Coker, Keeling, Brotherton, Hughes, Novosad, Harding. Replacements: Shurety, Holland, Van Heerden.

Ipswich Magpies v Norwich Seconds: Ipswich from: Aylott, Leary, Ball, Woodward, Kersey, Griffiths, Bevan, Shoplin, Bolton, Edmonds, Johnson, Long, Holly, Caley, Kerr, Hadwen, Hudson, Potter and Fisher.

weekend's Fixtures

London 2N: Bishop's Stortford v Twickenham, Cambridge v Sudbury, Ipswich v Old Albanians, Letchworth Garden City v Woodford, Shelford v Diss, Thurrock v Bank of England.

London 3NE: Brentwood v Saffron Walden, Chingford v Rochford Hundred, Romford & Gidea Park v Bury St Edmunds, West Norfolk v Basildon, Wymondham v Hadleigh.

London 4NE: Braintree v Thetford, Chelmsford v Lowestoft & Yarmouth, Mersea Island v Campion, Upminster v Beccles, Woodbridge v Eton Manor.

Eastern Counties 1: Canvey Island v Stowmarket, Ely v Maldon, Stanford le Hope v Colchester, Upper Clapton v Billericay, Wanstead v Holt.

Eastern Counties 2N: Crusaders v Southwold, Ipswich YM v Newmarket, Norwich Union v Haverhill & District, Thurston v Cantabrigian, Wisbech v Lakenham Hewett.

Eastern Counties 3N: Felixstowe v Broadland, Harwich & Dovercourt v Witham, March Braza v Swaffham, Sawston v Brightlingsea.

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