RFU Championship XV line-up announced for historic Maori clash
Head Coach Mike Rayer, along with assistant coaches Ian Davies and Diccon Edwards, has confirmed his starting line-up to face the Maori All Blacks on Saturday at Castle Park.
Nine of the twelve RFU Championship clubs are represented in the starting line-up to face the Maori All Blacks, with Cornish Pirates claiming three of the spots in Captain Gavin Cattle, prop Alan Paver and open-side flanker Phil Burgess.
Moseley are represented in back-row Ben Pienaar and centre Charlie Hayter, while Nottingham claim three players set to face the Haka in backs Rhys Crane, Tim Streather and second-row Nic Rouse.
6’5” Jersey second-row Nathan Hannay represents the RFU Championship newcomers, while Mark Irish, who was named RFU Championship Dream XV loose-head for two consecutive seasons, starts next to Jon Vickers at hooker.
On the bench is Newcastle Falcons prop Oliver Tomaszczyk, alongside fellow front rows Ted Stagg (Rotherham) and Tom Davies (Doncaster). Leeds Carnegie duo Calum Green and Ryan Burrows claim their spot on the bench, completed by Bedford Blues’ Luke Baldwin, Jake Sharpe and Mark Atkinson.
The game against the RFU Championship XV is the second in a three test tour for the Maori All Blacks, having lost to Leicester Tigers on Tuesday in a hard fought contest at Welford Road.
“Mike, Diccon and I travelled to the game and were obviously impressed with the quality on show.” commented assistant coach Ian Davies.
“However, I’ve been equally impressed by the speed at which the RFU Championship XV squad have come together as a team. These guys are used to playing opposite each other week in week out in the RFU Championship, and now they’re lining up next to each other. They have bonded very quickly and there is a strong team environment around camp.
Fellow assistant coach Diccon Edwards commented on the squad selection:
“The team is truly representative of the RFU Championship league. There is a nice blend of youth and experience that has become synonymous with the competition and it’s important that we reflect that on the field come Saturday.”
RFU Championship XV v Maori All Blacks, November 17, Castle Park. KO 1205. Tickets available via phone 01302 831388.
RFU Championship XV: 15 D. Mama; 14 R. Crane, 13 T. Streather, 12 C. Hayter 11 J. Bassett; 10 T. Roberts, 9 G. Cattle; (Capt.); 1 M. Irish, 2 J. Vickers, 3 A. Paver, 4 N. Hannay, 5 N. Rouse, 6 J. Rowan, 7 P. Burgess, 8.B Pienaar
16 T. Stagg, 17 T. Davies, 18 O. Tomaszczyk, 19 C. Green, 20 R. Burrows, 21 L. Baldwin, 22 J. Sharpe, 23 M. Atkinson.