RUGBY UNION: Hawks sign on Exiles pair for survival fight

The Oxford Times: London Welsh flanker Mike Denbee has joined Henley on loan London Welsh flanker Mike Denbee has joined Henley on loan

Henley Hawks have signed London Welsh pair Ollie Frost and Mike Denbee on loan to boost their hopes of avoiding relegation from National 1.

Scrum half Frost starts tomorrow’s home clash with Wharfedale, while flanker Denbee joins prop Billy Moss, who was already on loan from Welsh, among the replacements.

Henley are seven points adrift of safety and believe they will need to win five of their seven matches to be sure of staying up.

“We see our relationship with London Welsh as being really close, and it’s one we want to develop even further,“ said Henley assistant coach Pete Davies.

“To add the quality of full-time professionals to our squad is tremendous for us.

“It gives everyone a lift.”

Lock Dave Clements (jaw) returns after being out since November, while hooker Liam Dwyer (leg) is back after a month’s absence.

Christoph Bart returns at left wing, while Alex Penny gets a start at tighthead prop.

Head coach Matt Goode admits it is crunch time for Chinnor, who host relegation rivals Launceston in National 2 South.

“This is the biggest game of the season,” said Goode.

“This is a chance to see what we are made of. Let’s see if these new players can step up to the mark.”

One of those new players, Rudal Aiono, replaces Oscar Hirskyj-Douglas at openside flanker, while another, Michal Kruzychi, drops to the bench, with Andrew Tibbatts coming it a lock.

Scrum half Lewis Hall is injured. Centre Dan Barnes comes in on the bench.

Ralph Jones returns to the squad after a back injury as Oxford Harlequins host Devizes in South West 1 East.

Captain Jez Hicks, full back Phil Thomas and wings Ben Fisk and Chris Beasley come into an extended Witney squad to visit second-placed Towcestrians.

Grove forward Richard Haire has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken finger.

Matt Young replaces him at Newbury, while fly half Dave Johnson comes in for centre Joe Bellinger (work) in a reshuffled back line.

Full back/centre Henry Day is set to make his debut off the bench.

“The pressure is off us now,” said head coach Craig Burrows.

“Hopefully we can keep everyone fit and push for fourth place.”

TOMORROW'S SQUADS

Henley Hawks (v Wharfedale, home): Yarnton, Andre, T Allen, Wells, Bart, Comben, Frost, Manning, Dwyer, Penny, McNally, Clements, Payne, Newman (capt), R Stapley. Reps: Moss, McLeod, Woodward, Denbee, Nutt.

Chinnor (v Launceston, home): Hop-wood, Fielding, Goode, Hayes, G Blewitt, Millett, Jones, Cano, Townsend, Pickett, James-Nicholls, Tibbatts, Jope, Aiono, Gilbert (capt). Reps: Winpenny, Vickers, Hirskyj-Douglas, Kruzychi, Barnes.

Oxford Harlequins (v Devizes, home): from Marshall, Edney, Boulton, Brown (capt), Purchase, Ward, Battson, Tupou, Goggins, Norris, Fisilau, Lee, Tickle, Robinson, Hilton, Si Chadbone, Neal, Jones, Etheridge.

Witney (v Towcestrians, away): from Burke, A Copperwheat, Richens, Bennett, Mortimer, Rowles, Muller, C Campbell, Catherall, Hicks (capt), G Campbell, Landray, Clarke, H Lamb, Monks, Lambourne, Fisk, Beasley, Thomas, Mills.

Grove (v Newbury, away): R Sevier, Carr, Clipsham, N Sevier, G Nicholl, Johnson, J Chivers, Eckert (capt), Dixey, C Chivers, Peel, Miles, Law, Young, Gratwohl. Reps: Wallbridge, Day, Lewis.

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