The Lambs have named their side for Sunday morning’s fixture against Coventry Academy at Butts Park Arena, kicking off at 11am.
The fixture comes a week after the Lambs’ game against Boys Club of Wales was cancelled due to Storm Dennis so the young men in pink will certainly be fired up, particularly in the wake of one of their own, Felsted old boy Tristan Smith, being named in the England U18 squad.
Smith was a member of the now defunct Lambs U16 setup and a real highlight of the good work of the Lambs’ U16 and U14 setups before they were forced by the game’s governing body in this country to disband the sides, an edict that still defies all logical belief.
It will not just be the Lambs that will be itching to get on the field though, Coventry will be too, not least in the wake of the news this week of the funding cuts to the Greene King IPA Championship, in which the Coventry 1st XV play and the club is set to be bouncing on Saturday with a full programme of events for the day planned.
The importance of the Championship and their Academies was something that the Lambs Director of Rugby, Alex Laybourne, alluded to in the pre-match build up, saying:
“This is a new fixture for us and it’s really exciting to be part of a full day of events at Butts Arena. The Championship and their academies are a really important pathway for a huge number of players and I think it’s exciting to see the two teams come together as I know there will be loads of future talent on show.”
The Lambs will face further Championship opposition next weekend too, when they take on Nottingham’s Academy.
Against Coventry the Lambs have named two debutants at half back, Framlingham College’s Jake Mermagan at outside half and Epsom College’s Daniel Davies at scrum half. Both were set to be involved against Boys Club of Wales last week but get the chance to make their debuts this weekend.
In the centres Bishop Wordsworth’s Chris Chaddock and Sutton Valence’s Luke Trigg will link up, both were due to play last week before the weather set in, though Trigg was set to start on the wing.
Outside of them are Bishop Stortford College’s Thomas Howell and Wisbech Grammar’s William Gowler on the wing, with Taylor Hein-Jones of Framlingham College at full back in his first appearance since the opening game against Irish Exiles. It is a fourth cap for Gowler, who is one of just three of the 43 players used by the Lambs this year to be involved in every game.
The other two are both in the back, Gowler’s schoolmate George Dady in the second row, and Pangbourne College number 8 Benjamin Smith-Bannister.
Smith-Bannister will vice captain the side and his back row colleague Alex Rowe of Mount Kelly will be the captain, Milton Abbey’s Archie Fuller completes the back row, the trio were all due to play together last week too.
In front of them Sir Thomas Rich’s Conrad Holmes is alongside Dady, as was the plan last week. Meanwhile the front row again sees Felsted’s Sebastian Dickens handed the vice-captaincy and the loosehead shirt, with Francis Perks of Hereford Cathedral in line for a third cap at hooker, Clayesmore’s Joshua Burvill is at tighthead.
The bench sees Emanuel’s Jack Seymour selected there again, he was due to make is debut last week and should get the chance to this week. As should Trinity’s Alex Connaghton.
Joining then on the bench are Emanuel’s Finn Lyttle, Tettenhall College’s Sulayman Aurangzeb, and Sir John Lawes’ Guy Butterworth. Reed’s Harry Gray is also on the bench, as he was due to be last week.
Lambs XV v Coventry Academy – Sunday, 11am, Butts Park Arena
15 Taylor Hein-Jones (Framlingham College, apps 1)
14 William Gowler (Wisbech GS, 3)
13 Luke Trigg (Sutton Valence, 1)
12 Chris Chaddock (Bishop Wordsworth’s, 2)
11 Thomas Howell (Bishop’s Stortford College, 1)
10 Jake Mermagan (Framlingham College, 0)
9 Daniel Davies (Epsom College, 0)
1 Sebastian Dickens (Felsted, vc, 2)
2 Francis Perks (Hereford Cathedral, 2)
3 Joshua Burvill (Clayesmore, 1)
4 George Dady (Wisbech GS, 3)
5 Conrad Holmes (Sir Thomas Rich’s, 1)
6 Alex Rowe (Mount Kelly, captain, 2)
7 Archie Fuller (Milton Abbey, 1)
8 Benjamin Smith-Bannister (Pangbourne College, vc, 3)
Replacements: 16 TBC, 17 Finn Lyttle (Emanuel, 2), 18 Sulayman Aurangzeb (Tettenhall College, 2), 19 Alex Connaghton (Trinity, 0), 20 Guy Butterworth (Sir John Lawes, 2), 21 Harry Gray (Reed’s, 1), 22 Jack Seymour (Emanuel, 0).
Lambs 2019/20 Schedule:
Sunday 19th January – Lambs RFC 42-22 Irish Exiles
Sunday 26th January – Lambs RFC 7-52 Bristol Bears Academy
Saturday 8th February – Lambs RFC 12-19 Crawshay’s Welsh XV
Sunday 17th February – Lambs RFC v Boys Club of Wales – Cancelled, Weather
Sunday 23rd February – Lambs RFC v Coventry Academy, Butts Park Arena
Monday 2nd March – Lambs RFC v Nottingham Rugby (Lady Bay)
Saturday 28th March to Friday 10th April (approx.) – Lambs RFC tour of South Africa