Finalists drawn against each other
Rugby: THE Luck of the draw has paired Suffolk Cup finalist Ipswich and Hadleigh together in a National Rugby Cup competition this weekend.The two sides meet in the second round of the Powergen Cup at Humber Doucy Lane tomorrow.
THE luck of the draw has paired Suffolk Cup finalists Ipswich and Hadleigh together in a National Rugby Cup competition this weekend.
The two sides meet in the second round of the Powergen Cup at Humber Doucy Lane tomorrow, only a few months after Ipswich triumphed in the Suffolk Cup final over Hadleigh at the end of last season.
"Hadleigh have strengthened their side this season and we will not be underestimating them at all," said Mike Hancock, director or rugby at Ipswich.
"We know we will have to raise our game and put in a better performance against Hadleigh this time if we are to progress further in this competition."
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The ultimate prize is a trip to Twickenham where the Powergen Cup Final is staged at the end of the season. The first four rounds organised on a regional basis and clubs reaching the fifth round could be drawn to play
anywhere in the country.
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"It is a prestigious competition and Diss reached the quarter-final stage this year so there is every incentive for us to do well," said Hancock.
Although boosted by a win in the London League Division Two North at Sudbury last Saturday, Ipswich have been forced to make several team changes for the visit of Hadleigh.
Flanker James Blyth broke an ankle at Sudbury and will be out for at least four months. John Eley, who came on as replacement and earned the man of the match award in that game, deservedly keeps his place in the back row.
Winger Phil Keeling is unavailable, although Ally Kerr comes in for his first game of the season.
Christian Hadwen also makes his first appearance of the season in the first team at full-back in place of Mark Harding.
Both Hadwen and Kerr have been playing in the Ipswich Magpies team which collected two wins in the space of four days, beating Ipswich YM in midweek and Bury Wolves last Saturday.
Centre Jez Brotherton, who scored two tries against Bury, also steps up for first-team action. He replaces Bryn Kerr who switches to scrum-half with Ollie Hall dropping down to the replacements' bench.
The Ipswich coaches were pleased with the team's defensive display at Sudbury and have impressed on the side in training this week the need to
maintain similar high standards against Hadleigh.
"Our first up tackles will have to be spot on and we must concentrate on our rucking because we know Hadleigh will be up for the game too," said Hancock.
Hadleigh, who play one league below Ipswich in the London League Division Three North East are currently second in the table, having suffered only one defeat, and aiming for
Ipswich Magpies have no fixture tomorrow and Ipswich A team play away at Woodbridge.
Powergen Intermediate Cup, second round, Ipswich team to face Hadleigh (kick-off 3pm):Williams, Holland, Clarke, Price, Shurety, Briggenshaw, Primmer, Eley, Kerr (B), Coker, Novosad, Brotherton, Johnson, Kerr (A), Hadwen. Replacements: Reeve, Garbutt, Hall.