Ipswich to ring the changes

PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:29 03 March 2010

ONLY one week into the new season and Ipswich rugby club have already been forced to make wholesale changes for their first home match of the season tomorrow against Diss.

ONLY one week into the new season and Ipswich rugby club have already been forced to make wholesale changes for their first home match of the season tomorrow against Diss.

Holidays, work, a honeymoon and injury mean that four players who started in the opening match at Twickenham last Saturday will be missing at Humber Doucy Lane tomorrow.

Ipswich went down by 29 points to 14 to newly-promoted Twickenham in the London League Division Two North.

Mike Hancock, Ipswich's director of rugby, blamed poor preparation and lack of commitment in pre-season by some players.

"We should have had a pre-season warm-up game which was arranged against Norwich. But I had to call it off because not enough players were available," he said.

"By contrast, Twickenham had a competitive run-out a week before meeting us and it showed. They were sharp, well-organised and very good defensively. We were ponderous and indecisive and have had plenty to work on in training this week.

"Even so, we had 70 per cent of possession but having got that first game out of the way, I am confident we will put up a much better show at home this weekend".

Diss also went down in their opening fixture last Saturday, 35-20 against Bishops Stortford.

Missing for Ipswich tomorrow will be new signing from Esher, Justin Towns. The second row player, who had been the pick of the Ipswich forwards at Twickenham, has suffered an achilles injury and will be out for several weeks.

Alex Brigginshaw is away on honeymoon, Australian centre Darren Hines has work commitments and fly-half Van Heerden is on holiday.

Among those back into the squad are Alex Primmer, Adrian Price, James Goodall and Andrew Novosad.

Crispin Stephen makes a delayed debut at prop forward. The former St Joseph's College schoolboy was to have made his first appearance at Twickenham last Saturday, but was involved in a car crash on the way to the ground. He was taken to hospital for a check-up, suffered no serious injuries and will be fit to play.

With Van Heerden absent Jim Goodall makes a half-back partnership with new scrum half Ollie Johnson. Price and Primmer come into the reckoning for a second-row berth. Bryn Kerr who played at full-back last Saturday is likely to switch to centre with Matt Ryan playing in the number 15 shirt.

The squad of 20 players has been named, in which the starting 15 will be selected shortly before kick-off.

Ipswich (from): Evans, Reeve, Stephen, Price, Primmer, Eley, Searle (Captain), Rush, Murphy, Blyth, Johnson, Goodall, Kerr (A), Kerr (B), Woodmansee, Hadwen, Ryan, Brotherton and Novosad.

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