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Rugby Union: Norwich to host Charlton Park in Intermediate Cup semi-final

PUBLISHED: 08:53 23 February 2018

Action from Norwich's defeat at Ipswich on Saturday. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite

Action from Norwich's defeat at Ipswich on Saturday. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite

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Norwich will be aiming to put a rare off day behind them on Saturday when they attempt to reach the regional final of the RFU’s Intermediate Cup.

Their poor performance at Ipswich in London 2NE last weekend was very much out of character and they know they succumbed to a side that they should have beaten but who were far better on the day.

The good news is that, while most clubs have a weekend off, Norwich have a swift opportunity to put things right when they welcome Charlton Park to Beeston Hyrne for a semi-final showdown.

The London side play in London 2SE and have a slightly higher league position and points tally than their hosts.

Norwich will be without Laurence Austin, who suffered a neck injury at Ipswich and who is replaced by Ryan Bigland at No 8. It is unclear whether Dave Micklethwaite will have recovered sufficiently to rejoin the squad, with a late fitness test being required.

Director of Rugby David Everitt said: “After last week’s disappointing game, the squad will have every reason to be up for the cup game where the winner takes all.

“The way we played last week was wholly unacceptable after the fighting spirit shown against Diss, where every tackle was made and every opportunity to put the opposition under pressure was exploited, The players recognise that they performed well below par.

“Tuesday’s training was interesting with a lot of intensity in the contacts adding a bit of spice to the evening and I hope we have enough players fit for Saturday. We will concentrate on getting our game plans back on track.”

Coach Jonny O’Brien added: “To say I was disappointed with Saturday’s loss would be an understatement.

“We know we didn’t hit the standards we’ve set ourselves this season. On the plus side we have a huge game to look forward to.

“The players and coaches have been working very hard to make sure Ipswich was a one-off and we continue our exciting cup run.”

The winners will face either Rochford or Camberley in the regional final, when a place in the national stages of the competition - which reaches its climax at Twickenham - will be up for grabs.

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