Last week’s physical battle against Tonbridge Juddians took its toll with injuries dictating the make up of the squad travelling to Westcliff. Debuts are given to backs Ross Howard and Tom Halliday while Frank Reynolds and Tyler Oliver are fit again and named in the starting line-up. Head Coach Matt Corker says: “Local derbies are always highly charged affairs and last Saturday was no exception. After playing some great rugby in the opening thirty minutes, and giving ourselves over a twenty-point lead, to finish losing was hard to take. Tonbridge’s two scores before half time reduced the deficit and in the second half scoring first put us back in control. From that point, though, we struggled for territory and errors in the Tonbridge half prevented us from adding to our tally. I was really proud of the commitment the team showed. Players left the field with injuries but were willing to return to try and give all they had for the team. This is a great reflection of how much our performance means to the group. The lesson for us is, if we want to beat teams that are expecting to be at the top end of the table, we have to be able to play at a high intensity for 80 minutes and be able to win the territorial battle.
“After that physical encounter, both Aiden Moss and Charlie Kingsman will be unavailable to play at Westcliff due to injury. Frank Reynolds returns to fly half after a short injury lay off. He doesn’t like missing games and will be keen to get his hands on the ball again. It is also good to see the return of Tyler Oliver into the back row. Westcliff lost narrowly in their own local Derby against Rochford and will go into the weekend hunting for their first win. We know from our visit last season that we will have to start with intensity to come away with the result that we want.”
PILGRIMS AT HOME
There is league rugby at The Marine Travel Ground on Saturday where the Pilgrims play their first home match in Counties East 2 against Southwark Lancers with a 3pm kick-off.