New players must justify selection

RUGBY UNION: Direct Motorline sponsored Ipswich, who take on fellow strugglers Twickenham tomorrow, are forced once again to make wholesale changes to the previous week's line-up.

RUGBY UNION

Direct Motorline sponsored Ipswich, who take on fellow strugglers Twickenham tomorrow, are forced once again to make wholesale changes to the previous week's line-up.

Ipswich were well and truly thrashed last Saturday by an exceptionally talented Bank of England team at Roehampton in Surrey.

Most of these changes were forced on the selectors on Thursday evening when four of last week's team declared themselves unavailable for selection.

However senior players Price, Primmer, Clarke, Hughes, Johnson and Blyth are available this week and they are included in a strong squad even at the expense of players who made the four-hour trip to Roehampton last week.

"This doesn't sit easily with the selectors but we have a responsibility to put out the strongest side," said Mike Hancock, Director of Rugby.

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"The pressure is on the players coming in to vindicate their selection. I hope they do as some of them talk a great game but apart from three or four players nobody has played to the required first 15 standard so far this season,"

Ipswich face a team that scored over 60 tries through their wingers last season so they will have to deny the Twickenham backs any space to move the ball wide and they simply must ensure their kicking out of hand, at re-starts and to touch is spot on as this was woeful last week.

Ipswich need to kick start their season with an honest, 80 minute performance. The guys coming back in need to perform well, if they do Ipswich should be well worth the winning points.

As a consequence of so many late cry offs Ipswich have had to call off their third 15 merit table game against Sudbury. Nick Hall's Ipswich Magpies are at Colchester for a tough Eastern Counties North encounter. All players meet at Humber Doucy Lane at 1pm.

Ipswich: Clarke, Reeve, Williams, Price (capt), Shurety, Briggenshaw, Blyth, Primmer, Hall, Coker, Brotherton, Keeling, Hughes, Johnson, Harding. Replacements: Holland, Eley, Van Heerden.

NEXT month's planned inaugural Northern v Southern Hemisphere challenge match has been postponed by the International Rugby Board.

The game, which was scheduled to take place at Twickenham on November 30, has been dogged by problems.

England's top clubs were refusing to release their players for the match, which would have taken place just a week after a busy November Test schedule involving all the major countries.

Southern Hemisphere giants Australia, South Africa and New Zealand had also expressed concerns about the fixture, which was arranged by the IRB to raise funds for rugby's poorer nations.

An official IRB statement is expected from their Dublin headquarters later this morning.

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