Ipswich looking to gel

RUGBY UNION: For the first time in a month Ipswich have a home league fixture tomorrow against high flying Bishop's Stortford.Trips to Woodford, Letchworth and Cambridge in the past three weekends have produced only one victory, at Woodford, and two defeats.

RUGBY UNION

FOR the first time in a month Ipswich have a home league fixture tomorrow against high flying Bishop's Stortford.

Trips to Woodford, Letchworth and Cambridge in the past three weekends have produced only one victory, at Woodford, and two defeats.

"We have had massive team changes every week and just need to try and find some consistency so everyone can gel," commented Ipswich coach Guy Atherton.


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He said the team had "under-performed all round" in the defeat last Saturday at Cambridge.

"It was felt that distribution of the ball through the backs was slow so we are trying out a different and more experienced half back pairing against Bishop's Stortford," he added.

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Young scrum half Ollie Hall is relegated to the bench and Bryn Kerr – who played in the centre last Saturday – reverts to his more customary number nine position.

Fly half Alex Coker is unavailable so Simon Hughes, who also usually plays in the centre, moves inside to take the number ten shirt.

Prop forward Dan Garbutt is another who drops down to the bench and is replaced by Nick Williams. "We felt we needed to try and provide a more solid platform to win ball," said Atherton.

There is also an injury enforced change in the back row with Andrew Skipper coming in for John Eley, who is ruled out for at least two weeks because of a groin strain.

Another change is on the wing where Phil Keeling returns at the expense of Christian Hadwen.

"We all know this is going to be another huge game but at least we are at home," added Atherton.

Bishop's Stortford lost to Old Albanians last Saturday but remain second in the London League Division Two North table, while Ipswich are fourth from bottom and in danger of being drawn into a relegation battle unless results improve.

Ipswich Magpies are also at home tomorrow to Bishop's Stortford. Ipswich Ladies have a home game on Sunday against Rosslyn Park (kick-off 2pm).

Ipswich first XV: Williams, Reeve, Clarke, Briggenshaw, Price, Primmer, Skipper, Holland, Kerr, Hughes, Keeling, Brotherton, Johnson, Novosad, Harding. Replacements: Thomas, Garbutt, Hall.

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