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Derby day is crunch time

PUBLISHED: 12:38 08 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:30 03 March 2010

RUGBY UNION: The most important game of the season is how Ipswich and Diss are viewing tomorrow's big Suffolk/Norfolk derby game. Diss are languishing second from bottom of the London League Division Two North, while Ipswich are only just above them, four places off the basement club Metropolitan Police.

The most important game of the season is how Ipswich and Diss are viewing tomorrow's big Suffolk/Norfolk derby game.

Diss are languishing second from bottom of the London League Division Two North, while Ipswich are only just above them, four places off the basement club Metropolitan Police.

"The outcome is absolutely vital to both clubs," commented Ipswich coach Guy Atherton.

"If Diss lose they are likely to be relegated and if we lose it put us in serious danger of going down too.

"No one knows for sure yet how many clubs will be relegated but it likely to be at least three."

Ipswich go into the game knowing they have already beaten Diss in the earlier League encounter at Humber Doucy Lane in the first home game of the season.Tomorrow Diss will have home advantage.

Both clubs have not played for a fortnight and Ipswich know it will be essential to stamp their authority on the game from the outset.

"We have had good training sessions since our narrow three point defeat by Bishop Stortford and everyone realises how important it is for us to come away with a win," added Atherton.

"It has been a question of working on the basics and improving our handling in particular.

"At this stage of the season there is no point producing anything new, it is just a question of working on drills and repetition to make sure we get it right on the day."

Making his first team debut will be Dean Garrod at tight head prop.

A former Ipswich Colt who has also represented Eastern Counties at Under 21 level, he has been playing earlier this season with the development squad at Premiership Northampton.

But Garrod has now resumed studies at Suffolk College and rejoined Ipswich where he impressed for the Magpies last Saturday.

However, Ipswich have again been hit by injury and unavailability. Alex Briggenshaw aggravated a groin strain while captaining Suffolk in a county match 10 days ago.

He has been troubled with injury for some weeks but has now finally been ruled out of this week's game.

Scrum half James Goodall is away on a walking holiday in the Lake District.

The versatile Mark Harding, who has appeared in the threequarters for the first time this season, reverts to his original position of scrum half. James Blyth takes over from Briggenshaw and plays at number eight.

Ipswich Magpies who put more than 70 points past Sudbury second team in a massive win last Saturday, entertain Diss seconds at Humber Doucy Lane.

Ipswich team : Garrod, Reeve, Thomas, Price, Griffiths, Rush, Searle, Blyth, Harding, Van Heerden, Brotherton, Hines, Johnson, Kerr, Hughes. Replacements: Fairclough, Novosad, Murphy.


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