Rugby Union: Norwich aiming to make progress in RFU Intermediate Cup

Norwich on the front foot against Harlow. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite

Norwich on the front foot against Harlow. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite - Credit: Archant

Norwich take a break from league action tomorrow as they attempt to book a place in the regional semi-finals of the RFU Intermediate Cup.

They travel to Essex to take on Upminster team Old Cooperians knowing they will need to be better than they were in last week's home win over Harlow if they want to progress.

Ace try scorer Mike Lawton is unavailable and Rob Micklethwaite is injured. The returning Laurence Austin is provisionally placed at 13 rather than his usual 8 and his place at the back of the scrum will be taken by Ryan Bigland. With Robbie Bridgstock taking a knock last week he will start on the bench and Conan Hoey will start at 9.

Looking ahead to the game, director of rugby David Everitt said: 'After last week's efforts the players should be in good heart to consolidate on their success.

'With 52 players plus the Vets at training it was a sight I have not seen for many years and turning out four teams is encouraging. Credit must go to the coaches, captains and managers as well as the players themselves for creating the environment for this to happen.'

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He continued: 'Although the 1st XV stuttered to victory against Harlow they know that the performance was not good enough and there are several things that they need to improve on. The return of Laurence Austin and Ryan Bigland will strengthen the squad and the inclusion of youngsters George Ainge and Cameron Horide in the squad will further their development.'

Coach Jonny O'Brien added: 'We'll be taking a strong team, we all want to keep this winning run going. It was a bitter-sweet game against Harlow on Saturday. I was pleased with the win but not the performance which was how the players felt too.'

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There is also local interest in the last eight of the Senior Vase, with Thetford and Southwold flying the flag, Thetford host Bromley while Southwold make the long journey to Surrey to take on Old Cranleighans.

The London Three Eastern Counties rivals have reached the quarter-finals in contrasting fashion, Thetford seeing off Maldon and West Norfolk and Southwold being handed two walk-overs.

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