TOP close-season signing Dan Hyde returns to the pack for Huddersfield Rugby Union Club’s visit to Hull Ionians tomorrow (3.00) as they bid to keep up with the frontrunners in National II North.
And that means another selection poser for Director of Rugby Mark Sowerby with five players vying for just three places in the back row of the pack.
After considering the options, Sowerby has gone for Hyde at No8, with Nick Sharpe again moving up to flanker along with Gareth Lewis, while last week’s man-of-the-match Mark Whitehead again reverts to the bench.
“It’s been a very difficult call when everyone is fit, but I’ve decided to use Whitey as a sub this week, where I think he’ll be very useful coming on in the second half with his pace,” admitted Sowerby.
“I know its hard on Mark, who played well last week. I’m only too aware that it is going to be very difficult to keep everyone happy, another is George Hinchliff who has been on the bench week after week and, not surprisingly, has been ‘bending my ear’ – and quite rightly.
“That is one of the drawbacks of having strength in depth, which I feel we now have, and being able to put out a strong bench of substitutes. And I know that I am going to have to start rotating some of my players.”
The only other change in the side from the one which started last Saturday against Fylde sees Joel Hinchliffe getting the nod over Damian Clayton at scrum half, while on the subs’ bench Alex Battye comes in to replace Jack McPhail, who is a having a full run-out with the Seconds.
Hull Ionians are still without a win after five games and are bottom of the table, although they do have three bonus points (one more than Huddersfield), and Sowerby is anxious his side do not go into the game with any complacency.
“Just because they haven’t won yet this season doesn’t necessarily make them a poor side, and we can’t afford to go into the game with the same attitude we showed when we visited Leicester a fortnight since.”
Last season Huddersfield went down 31-18 at Ionians, and only just managed to edge a 31-29 victory at home, so they will not be expecting a walkover at Brantingham Park.
Huddersfield: Van Vuuren; Ryder, Paxman (L), Paxman (B), Clarke; Johnson, Hinchliffe; Slater, Davies, Stringwell, Harris, Rhodes, Lewis, Sharpe, Hyde. Subs: Battye, Entressengle, Hinchliff, Whitehead, Clayton.