RUGBY UNION: Henley skipper fills the breach

Skipper Tom Allen will step into the scrum-half breach when Henley Hawks entertain Lydney in National 2 South tomorrow (2.30pm).

Hawks were knocked off the top of the table for the first time this season following last week’s 25-22 defeat by Dings Crusaders.

During that match, Henley’s replacement scrum half Jack Shaylor suffered a serious knee ligament injury which is like to keep him out for the rest of the season.

The situation at scrum-half is further aggravated by the absence of Luke Carter who has started there in the last two games.

So the versatile Allen moves from centre to the base of the scrum.

His place at centre is taken by Neil Baggett, who steps up from full back. Richard Briggs, the regular left wing, moves to full back, which gives the opportunity for Liam O’Neill to come in for a start – the first time since November.

Up front, loosehead prop Dai Maddocks continues to be sidelined.

Ryan Newman is still away in New Zealand, but the return of Matt Payne after injury means that the back row will be near full strength.

Henley have slipped to fourth, but are only two points behind Worthing. It should be a home success for Henley against an improving Lydney side, who have recorded only four wins all season – although three of them have come in the last four games.

Henley Hawks (v Lydney, home, 2.30): Briggs, Andre, Baggett, Wells, O’Neill, Comben, Allen (capt), Milford Scot, Dwyer, Manning, Clements, McNally, Payne, Woodward, Stapley. Reps: Hadfield, Winterbottom, Stembridge, Emmett, Nutt.

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