Norwich RFC preparing for their toughest test of the season

Nick Austin returns to action for Norwich at the weekend after a prolonged injury absence. Picture:

Nick Austin returns to action for Norwich at the weekend after a prolonged injury absence. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite - Credit: Archant

Norwich face their toughest challenge of the season so far tomorrow as they try to maintain their unbeaten home run in London Two North East against leaders Rochford Hundred.

Rochford are a very different side to the one that Norwich faced last season, having recruited heavily during the summer from higher league opposition.

They have been challenged by their coach to be undefeated all season and so far are doing so convincingly.

Director of rugby David Everitt said: 'This is will be our sternest test by far this season and the squad will need to be at its best to keep our proud home record intact. Rochford's record so far has been amazing and they are clearly far stronger than any other side in our league. Having said that we have to ensure that our commitment to our game plan, discipline, tackling and the collision areas are of the highest order and that we play with pride in our shirt.'

Lead coach Jonny O'Brien added: 'Two weeks off is not ideal preparation for welcoming the top team but I really want the boys to go out and express themselves and go on the attack. We can be proud of our unbeaten home record and need a large crowd to get behind the team.'

Nick Austin will return to the bench after a prolonged absence through injury while the back row has been shuffled, with Laurence Austin moving to six and Ryan Bigland coming in at eight.

The Lions are away to West Norfolk II and the AXV home to Wymondham III.

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An exciting title battle resumes in London Three Eastern Counties, with just one point separating leaders Southwold and closest rivals Stowmarket.

Both have tricky looking away matches tomorrow, with Southwold taking on a Woodbridge side who beat them in a Suffolk Cup tie last weekend and Stowmarket playing fifth placed Thetford.

Holt, beaten at Southwold last time out, host Ely in a match that pitches third against fourth, while Crusaders visit Wisbech, West Norfolk host Newmarket and bottom of the table Lowestoft & Yarmouth entertain Wymondham. L&Y will be doing their utmost to get back to zero points after having had five deducted for conceding their game at Holt back in October.

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