Leaders Norwich ready for tough test at Rochford Hundred

Richie Rhodes will miss Norwich's game at Rochford Hundred. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite

Richie Rhodes will miss Norwich's game at Rochford Hundred. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite - Credit: Andy Micklethwaite

Leaders Norwich make the trip to Rochford Hundred in London 2NE tomorrow knowing they will have to be at their very best to come away with the spoils.

The team are playing with confidence and clearly enjoying their rugby but their record against Rochford shows that the last four meetings have resulted in heavy defeats. They lie in third place in the league and present a significant challenge in both forwards and backs. Although virtually identical to the team that lost twice last year, this season's performances suggest that this should be a competitive game and the players have shown at Chelmsford what they can do against a team that also inflicted a heavy defeat on them last season.

Norwich will be without in-form players Richie Rhodes and Chris Parrott but in their places will be the very experienced Dougie Greenwood at 12 and former captain Jonny Wheater, meaning that Norwich should not lose momentum from last week's impressive performance against Basildon. Greenwood's inclusion moves Jordi Walker to 13 and Michael Campton-Smith back to the wing. Mark Fernie, Nick Austin and Aaron Beaumont are the replacements.

The Norwich forwards were outstanding last week, dominating the much heavier Basildon pack and providing the backs with plenty of ball to work with. That same set of forwards will play this week and be looking to test their mettle against a pack near the top of the table.

Coach Jonny O'Brien commented: 'I felt it was a professional performance from the team last week and I was very happy with Joe Tennant's full first team debut, he looked very much at home and took his chances well. The backs were much more of an attacking threat last week which I was very pleased with. We know that we will have to play at our best to get a positive result and we are looking forward to the challenge.'

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n In London 3NE Lowestoft and Yarmouth, who seem to be finding their feet at a lower level, will be aiming to make it three wins on the trot when they play host to bottom side Clacton.

Beccles should also fancy their chances when they welcome Billericay – who have lost all five so far – to Bull Meadow while West Norfolk will be aiming to build on last week's excellent win over Wanstead when they entertain Stowmarket.

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