HENLEY HAWKS travel to Southend tomorrow (Saturday) as they continue their quest for vital National League 2 points.
A win would give them the chance of closing the gap in the table to give them a possibility of avoiding relegation if, for example, Redruth, who are at present 12 points ahead of them have a losing run. Both teams have another five games to play and meet at Dry Leas on April 19th.
Director of Rugby Jason Forster does not expect to make many changes, if any, to the squad that played against Wharfedale last week.
Forster said: “The most important things we have to do are to improve our discipline and refrain from turning over possession. The opposition are scoring points because of our mistakes and we are not makling the most of our opportunities.”
It was thought that Rob Hurrell would be out for at least four to six weeks, but he is making good progress and may be making an earlier return. In the meantime his replacement, Gareth Ellis, is settling into the squad. Mark Odejobi is still unavailable, being required for England U20s as they go for the grand slam against Ireland.
Southend lie comfortably in seventh place. They have developed close links with Saracens on the coaching side with assistance from Thomas Castaignede, Andre Vos and Kris Chesney in particular. On the playing side they have developed an exchange programme with Natal Sharks the South African provincial side.
In full back Andy Frost, with 235 points, they have the highest scorer in the league. Included in this points total are nine tries which puts him just behind centre Faapolo Soolefai who has 11.
It was Frost who kicked the winning penalty goal in injury time when Southend defeated the Hawks at Dry Leas, 9-8, which turned out to be a watershed for Henley. It was after this game, in which they did not concede a try against a free scoring side, that their proud defensive record began to melt away.
The Henley Hawks squad is as follows: Chris Simmons, Felise Ah-Ling, Angelo Flammia, Jaymes Chapman, Chaska Loubser, James Farndon, James Gaunt, Callum Grant, Andy Le Chevalier, Liam Wordley, Dinos Alexipolous, Rowan Fuller, Dan Howick, James Winterbottom, Gareth Ellis, Matt Payne, Tom King, Matt Hulland, Dave Archer