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RUGBY: Promoted Henley bid to make their mark
10:20am Thursday 5th September 2013 in Sport
HENLEY Hawks are determined to make an impact on their return to this level after five years away.
Hawks were promoted after winning the National 2 South title, but are not content simply to make up the numbers.
“Our ambition is top six in Division 1,” said the club’s press officer and long-serving committee member Noel Armstead.
Henley, who host Tynedale in their season-opener on Saturday have lost five players, including lock James Winterbottom and wing Richard Briggs, who have retired.
Dual-registered Wasps trio Will Robinson, Nathan Morris and Jonah Holmes have moved on to London Welsh and, in Holmes’s case, Leeds.
They retain the same coaching team, headed up by Nigel Dudding and have signed 13 new players.
Hawks have boosted their back-row options with four players, including Cinderford captain Luke Allen.
Openside flanker Ryan Long returns to Dry Leas, while Matt Reeves moves from Oxford Harlequins and youngster Rowan Halsall joins from Ealing’s development squad.
Henley have signed former Southern Canterbury (New Zealand) second row Tom McGregor and ex-Coventry prop Matt Weller, who has been playing in Spain.
Wing/full back Will Jones returns to Henley after playing for Cardiff RFC while at university in the city.
Centre Luke Burns, a Henley regular from 2005-08, is also back.
Scrum half and Ireland age group player Mark Bruce joins from Falkirk, while former Grove and Newport utility back Alan Awcock is another signing.
IN: Luke Allen (Cinderford), Ryan Long, Matt Reeves (Oxford Harlequins) Rowan Halsall (Ealing, all back-row forwards), Tom McGregor (Southern Canterbury, lock), Matt Weller (prop, Coventry), Will Jones (Cardiff, wing/full back), Luke Burns (centre), Mark Bruce (Falkirk, scrum half), Alan Awcock (wing/full back, Newport), Guy Swadling (Hinckley, fly half), Elliott Markham (Loughborough Students, fly half), Tom Howe (London Wasps Academy, wing).
OUT: James Winterbottom (lock) Richard Briggs (wing, both retired), Will Robinson (fly), Nathan Morris (front row, both London Welsh), Jonah Holmes (scrum half, Leeds Carnegie).
LAST SEASON: 1st, National 2 South. Promoted.
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