UUֱ

Eyes on the Wynne

Euan Spencer returns to the UUֱ RFC starting XV for the visit of second-placed Tottonians Picture: ROB CURRIE (37095953)

A MOUTHWATERING top-of-the-table clash presents UUֱ RFC with an opportunity to extend their advantage at the summit to double digits tomorrow.

Standing in their way, are Tottonians, who have won nine of their opening ten Regional 2 South Central contests, with a loss against London Irish Wild Geese their only blemish.

Myles Landick’s UUֱ side however, have given little hope to the chasing pack, winning ten straight, taking maximum points from each game.

After a welcome rest last weekend, the head coach said his men are “relishing the prospect” of facing the Hampshire side.

“We had a really fast paced and intense session on Tuesday,” he said.

“The boys got some time off training last week, so everyone feels refreshed and ready to go.

“There is no thinking ahead of tomorrow’s game from the camp honestly. We are fully focused on getting a win of any kind as we know that will extend our lead to a couple of games.

“We don’t know a huge amount about Tottonians. After a little digging, it looks like they will have a really physical pack and will be strong up front.

“But we will be ready for whatever they throw at us. We pride ourselves on our conditioning, and that is an advantage we have noticed for the most part.

“When other teams tire, we seem to have that second wind and are able to punish some heavy legs come the end of games.”

In terms of personnel, Landick has made a couple of changes up front, with George Thomas brought in to replace Ewan Davies, while Euan Spencer returns at Tom Tilstone’s expense.

Among the backs, the reliable Aaron Penberthy slots back in at fly-half, allowing Scot van Breda to shift back to his preferred role at centre.

Nathan Rogers therefore vacates that spot and heads to the wing, in place of Anushan Elanco, who drops out.

Such is the strength in depth in UUֱ’s armoury, a certain Lewis Wynne is named on the bench.

The former Reds captain, who steered his side to Championship success last season, has been training religiously with the amateur outfit since the Reds’ collapse and Landick believes his impact “has been clear”.

He added: “I was pretty open when the Reds ceased to exist that I will provide chances to those players who have earned it.

“Lewis has been training with us week in, week out and gives 110% every time, so fully deserves the chance to play.

“Having someone with his leadership qualities around the camp has been so valuable and we are really grateful that we are able to lean on his expertise.”

“But we also need to appreciate how much talent we already have in the squad.

“These guys have been performing brilliantly and the volume of players that have developed through the UUֱ Rugby Club academy is exceptional.

“Players like Sam Harvey have really impressed me.

“He’s a young lad who is learning all the time and it’s been really pleasing to see his progression.

“He looks like he’s loving every minute out there, which is great to see.”

Another key aspect to UUֱ’s progression has been the addition of former Red James Mitchell.

The scrum-half has a real passion for coaching and Landick’s side are reaping the rewards.

He continued: “Mitch has free rein over what he wants to do with our attack.

“He’s managed to pick up where Brendan [Owen] left off and has really help take us to the next level in terms of skill and accuracy.

“It’s been amazing to watch how well we are moving the ball in attack and it’s causing defences all sorts of issues.”

Action is set to get under way from St Peter at 2.15pm tomorrow.

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