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RUGBY UNION: I'm up for the fight, vows Vaikona
Oxford Harlequins director of rugby Tevita Vaikona said he and his coaching team will not back away from the problems facing their club.
Quins host Oxford University Greyhounds in the Oxfordshire Cup preliminary round tomorrow (12), which offers a welcome break from their National 3 South West woes.
But although the picture looks bleak, especially after a record 90-0 league defeat to Weston-super-Mare, Vaikona stressed there was still hope.
“We have gone through 49 players already this season,” said Vaikona.
“When it rains, it pours.
“This is the challenge. We don’t walk away from something tough like this.”
Forwards Conner McCaffery, Ashley Whittington and Charlie Sammut, plus backs Alan Johnson and Jonny Tevita return for tomorrow’s clash.
Quins’ Weston nightmare last week has been tempered by the news that the injuries to hooker Chris Davies (neck) and full back Harry Whittington (head) are not as bad as feared.
The pair are rested this week, while lock Will Clayton will miss two weeks with a shoulder injury and back-row forward Ollie Rees has a dead leg.
Chinnor head coach Jason Bowers wants to hit the heights his side achieved against Worthing when Shelford visit Kingsey Road in National 2 South.
A month ago, Worthing arrived second in the table with a 100 per cent record, but were beaten 36-21.
Cambridgeshire side Shelford now sit second, having lost just once, while Chinnor are a on a three-match losing streak.
“We just need to try and recreate that form,” said Bowers, who names an unchanged squad. “Things are going well, but the results have not been what we would have liked.”
Captain Tom Allen returns for Henley Hawks’ trip to Worthing after spending two weeks in South Africa.
Allen comes in at full back, with Martin Nutt moving to the wing and Xavier Andre dropping to the bench, despite scoring three tries in two matches.
Dai Maddocks is back at loose-head prop, with Alex Penny making his first start of the season at tight-head.
Chinnor (v Shelford, home): from Colver, Fielding, Corpe, Goode, Stoop, Gray, Cathcart, Millet, Hopwood, Winpenny, Holyland, Stock, Berry, Whelan, Mowbray, Hughes, Smith, Gilbert, Sawyer, Kava.
Henley Hawks (v Worthing, away): Allen (capt), Nutt, James, Wells, Briggs, Comben, Shaylor, Maddocks, Dwyer, Penny, Winterbottom, McNally, Woodward, Newman, Stapley. Reps: Milford-Scott, Hadfield, Clements, Cannock, Andre.
Oxford Harlequins (v Oxford University Greyhounds, home): from Brook, Edney, Sanders, Neal, Sammut, Farahani, Krockford, McCaffery, A Whittington, Graham, Todd, Hilton, Halatokoua, Johnson, Green, Tevita, Warman, Boulton, E Rees, Fisilan.
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