1stXV v Hartpury College, Sat Mar 05, Match Preview
Ampthill welcome Hartpury College to Dillingham Park this weekend. The two sides have recent history with both in National 2 South for season 2013-14 with Hartpury retaining bragging rights having won at Dillingham Park despite being 17-0 down after 20 minutes, securing promotion to National 1 as Champions with a 39-30 home win at the end of the season and achieving a comfortable, 37-10, win at home in November.
Hartpury College Rugby Academy was formed in 2000 with an agreement with Premiership side Gloucester who now use the college facilities as their training base.
Hartpury College RFC was founded in 2004 joining the RFU league pyramid at the bottom (level 11), having lost their first ever league game they didn’t lose again until 2009 and won eight consecutive promotions to arrive in National 2 South for season 2012-13 where they finished 3rd.
Last season, their first at level 3, they finished 5th and currently lie 2nd in the table, 10pts behind leaders Richmond despite having beaten them away in December last year.
Hartpury’s squad is augmented by Gloucester Academy contracted players, the majority of whom are former or current Hartpury students.
Last weeks hard fought 15-9 victory at home to then 2nd placed Blackheath enabled them to replace their opponents as the closest challenger to Richmond. Hartpury are a rounded side with the best attack, the second best defence and the best points difference in the league.
Ampthill made the long trip north to Lancashire last week where a fine performance saw them outscore the home side 5 tries to 3 to secure their 13th win of the season. Trailing 12-7 at half time a strong last quarter produced a final score line of 19-29.
Changes to the squad this week
Forwards – Viliami Ma’asi starts at hooker, Kennett O’Neill starts at lock, Matthew Burke starts at openside.
Backs – Elliott Reeder starts at outside centre and Elliot Clements-Hill starts on the wing.
Replacements – Benjamin Wilkinson is promoted from the 1881s, Russell Weir, on loan from London Scottish makes his debut and William Maisey rotates to the bench.