Skipper suspended for Vikings’ big test
Tony MarcantonioNATIONAL 3 LONDON & SE: North Walsham will have to manage without the talents of skipper Gideon Rossouw tomorrow when they travel to play Old Albanians. Rossouw was red carded in the game against Dorking last Saturday following a verbal exchange with the referee and has, pending an official league tribunal, been suspended by the club.Tony Marcantonio
North Walsham will have to manage without the talents of skipper Gideon Rossouw tomorrow when they travel to play Old Albanians.
Rossouw was red carded in the game against Dorking last Saturday following a verbal exchange with the referee and has, pending an official league tribunal, been suspended by the club. Although most of his rugby has been played at hooker he has more often this season been operating in the back row - an area for which Walsham have cover.
Tomorrow's opponents have had a good season and, had it not been for the financial clout of Jersey, would have been contesting for the league title. As is stands, they are well placed to move up via the play-offs. A record of three defeats in their 20 games, two by small margins against Jersey and an opening day loss to Hertford, means that they will be formidable opponents.
Some of their wins have been less than convincing, including a single point win over Diss at Mackenders, and Walsham, while not really threatening to overturn them, went down 15-5 in a tight game at Scottow.
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Albanians are a club with great strength in depth due to a close relationship with Premiership side Saracens, and there is news that they have recently signed former Walsham outside half and record points scorer James Shanahan, pictured below, and a scrum-half from Cambridge.
The Walsham coaches were last week able to field a near full strength side and although they will be without Rossouw this time around, whoever comes in will not be without experience. The names of Soul Phoenix, Ross Nicholson and newcomer Ed Elvin could well be in their minds. Mark McCall took a knock towards the end of last week's game but is keen to continue at hooker and with Alex Soutar unavailable, Shaun Woodhouse looks scheduled for another start at tight head.
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In the backs, Lee Sandberg is due back and could return at scrum-half with possibly Iain Young in the No 10 shirt in place of the unavailable Justin Loveridge. If Young does move then there could be a start for Sam Rhodes on the wing with the possibility of newlywed Shane van Vuuren on the bench. The Vikings are without a game but the Warriors' friendly with Lakenham Hewett is scheduled to proceed.
t North Walsham Under-17s have been drawn to play London Scottish in the National U17s Plate competition at Richmond on Sunday (2pm kick off).
The side has also reached the final of the Eastern Counties Cup with a home tie against Colchester on a date still to be arranged. Under normal circumstances the result of the Eastern Counties final dictates the track taken by the winners and runners up. However due to the disruption to fixtures caused by a recent adverse weather conditions clubs have been allotted places in various sections of the National Cup competition.
Coach Mark Oakes said: 'It is a fantastic opportunity for the lads to play against opposition from a club such as London Scottish.'