Norwich ready to go back to basics at Saffron Walden
- Credit: Andy Micklethwaite
Norwich will need to re-focus on another difficult game tomorrow against Saffron Walden who are always a tough prospect at home and sit just behind them in the London 2NE table.
The league is so competitive that with the halfway point of the season approaching sixth placed Saffron Walden, on 34 points, are just four points behind the new leaders Rochford Hundred.
Norwich were frustrated by last week's first half performance where they allowed the large and powerful Campion pack to dominate the exchanges. Norwich did, however, defend brilliantly and were finishing the game much the stronger until two late yellow cards effectively cost them the game. To have salvaged a bonus point with a late penalty was the least that they deserved for their efforts but they will have to do something about their discipline at the breakdown if they are to reverse their current dip in form, albeit against probably the two strongest sides in the league.
To lose speedster Joe Tennant in the first three minutes of last week's game to a dislocated elbow was a serious loss to the team as Tennant has exploited even half gaps to devastating effect this season.
Norwich also lost player coach and fly-half Jonny O'Brien to a knee injury midway through the game and he will not feature this week. With Dougie Greenwood unavailable and David Byrne out injured for the foreseeable future, O'Brien has had to shuffle his deck.
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JC Brown starts at fullback and Chris Parrott moves away from his preferred full-back position to fly-half. Richie Rhodes returns to one wing with Jonny Wheater on the other. Captain Gareth Leake returns to the second row and is partnered by Mark Fernie, back from injury.
Matt Girling brought some much needed aggression to the front row last week when he came off the bench and he is included in the squad. The towering Tom Lloyd makes a welcome return to first team rugby having been in America for several years and is joined on the bench by Neil Dunleavey.
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O'Brien said: 'We know how tough this game is likely to be. Saffron Walden have some quality players in key positions but we are going to focus on a 'back to basics' philosophy and try and get our game back on track. It is frustrating because we are so close and the performance late in the game last week was so much better but we can't leave it so late.'