HENLEY Hawks’ National 1 survival hopes have been boosted by the signing of Oxford University flanker Gus Jones.
Jones, who joins on loan from Premiership club Wasps, will start in tomorrow’s crunch clash at Richmond.
The England Under 20 international has won Blues in the last two Varsity Matches, and is relishing his new challenge.
“Matt Davies, Wasps’ academy manager, was really keen for me to play league rugby,” explained Jones.
“He approached Henley and it went from there.
“I don’t think the guys are too focused on the bottom of the table. We are taking it one game at a time.”
Henley are just four points above the drop zone, which Richmond are only avoiding on points difference.
Ben Ashmore is added to the squad, with No 8 Robbie Stapley playing for England Counties against the France Federale XV in Darlington tonight.
Player-coach Matt Goode slammed Chinnor’s poor discipline ahead of Ampthill’s visit in National 2 South.
Harry Betts, Andrew Tibbatts, Liam Gilbert and Adam Hastings were all sin-binned during last week’s 31-14 defeat at leaders Hartpury College.
Had Chinnor been able to keep a full complement of players, Goode felt they could have pushed Hartpury far closer.
“There were three yellow cards on the bounce,” said Goode. “They were all for cynical things.
“It is frustrating for me that players are not listening to the ref. We talk about it week in, week out.”
Centre Goode and on-loan scrum half Lewis Hall return.
Props Joe Winpenny and Tom Whelan are out with concussion, so potential debutant Anthony Kent and veteran Simon Matthews could play.
Oxford Harlequins will be unchanged, with front-row forward Matt Edney coming in on the bench, if their South West 1 East clash at Reading survives the wet weather.
“We’ve had two pretty tight, physical games of late and I’m expecting Reading to be a physical side as well, so we have set our pack up accordingly,” said Chadbone.
Grove know they will need to be at their best to get anything at second-placed Windsor.
Manager Phil Rennie commented: “Tables don’t lie, they are up there for a reason.
“They are a good side, but so are we. We are looking forward to the match.”
Grove are unchanged.
Chris Beasley replaces Carl Strutt on the wing as Witney host Cheltenham.
Witney also host Oxford University Greyhounds in the Oxfordshire Cup quarter-finals on Sunday, while Alchester entertain Henley Bulls.
Henley Hawks (v Richmond, away): from Maddocks, Dwyer, Manning, Woodward, McNally, Jones, Long, Newman, Carter, Comben, Bart, O’Neill, Wells, Andre, Nutt (capt), Yarnton, Hadfield, L Allen, Ashmore, Brennan, T Allen.
Chinnor (v Ampthill, home): from Stoop, G Blewitt, Fielding, Barnes, Marston, Millett, Jones, Townsend, Pickett, Tibbatts, Mowbray, Betts, Harrison, Gilbert (capt), Berry, Hirskyj-Douglas, Hastings, Hopwood, Goode, Hall, Kent, Matthews.
Oxford Harlequins (v Reading, away): Hilton, Goggin, Lee, Fisilau, Robinson, Norris, Jones, Marshall, Selby, Boulton, Purchase, Brown (capt), Battson, Tupou, Achilles. Reps: Si Chadbone, Tickle, Edney.
Grove (v Windsor, away): Lewis, Carr, Clipsham, N Sevier, G Nicholl, R Sevier, J Chilvers, Eckert (capt), Dixey, C Chilvers, Miles, Haire, Peel, Bellinger, Gratwohl. Reps: Wiltshire, Law, Johnson.
Witney (v Cheltenham, home): Clarke, Monks, Landray, H Lamb, Beasley, Thomas, G Campbell, Burke, A Copperwheat, Richens, Mortimer, Rowles, C Campbell, Catherall, J Hicks (capt). Reps: Richardson, Muller, Strutt.
Henley Bulls (v Witney, away): Steventon, Higgins, McLeod, Middleton, McGregor, Ashmore, Haynes, Bloxham, Gaunt, Swadling, Lillingtom, Perry, Baggett, Purcell-Lacey, Lubbock, Waldron, Browning, George, Huggins, Inglis.