Goode has to shuffle pack again ahead of derby clash

It’s more a question of who is fit rather than who isn’t for Banbury Bulls head coach Matt Goode.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 2:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 2:50 pm
Tommy Gray breaks through for Banbury Bulls against Old Patesians at the DCS Stadium. Photo: Steve Prouse
Tommy Gray breaks through for Banbury Bulls against Old Patesians at the DCS Stadium. Photo: Steve Prouse

Bulls make the short trip to Oxford Harlequins on Saturday looking to make it back-to-back wins in Wadworth 6X South West One East.

But the growing injury list means Goode will have to shuffle his pack again at Quins who are just seven points behind third-placed Bulls. Forwards Sam Carr-Archer, Kallum Dixey, Nick Pratt, Callum Horne, James Jennings, Tom MacDonald and Ed Berridge are all ruled out while Justin Parker and Jack Briggs, who dislocated his thumb against Old Patesians, are also injured.

Goode said: “It’s a great incentive for Quins but we’ve also got to use that as a motivation for us, to make sure we stay ahead of them. But we’ve got lots of injuries again and it’s more a question of who is fit rather than who isn’t.

“The front row is fine and Ian Isham is available for the rest of the season, and we should be okay in the back row. There are a couple of players in the seconds who deserve their chance.

“We know Quins bring a lot of passion and a lot of fire. We need to improve our defence and our ball retention to come away with the right result.

“The 4G pitch may suit our style of rugby but we thought that at Chippenham and that didn’t go to plan.”

Looking back on Saturday’s success over Old Patesians, Goode said: “It was just a poor first half performance but we stuck at it and put in a much better display in the second period, we kept the ball much better and took our chances.

“I don’t think the first half display was a hangover from the previous week’s defeat, it was just down to more enforced changes. Having the strength in depth is good in one respect because it shows we’ve got a talented squad but it also means there is a lack of continuity which affects momentum, especially against the better teams.”