Cambridge Rugby Head Coach Richie Williams has named his side to face Northampton Saints in round two of the Premiership Cup on Saturday.
The clash, held at Franklin’s Gardens, forms part of a local derby against Premiership giants Northampton Saints in the second round of the inaugural Premiership Cup competition.
Having fallen short to Doncaster Knights in the opening round, Williams is keen to take learnings from Round One into the weekend;
“On the whole, I thought we gave a positive account of ourselves last week. For large periods of the game we were very competitive and were able to match the physicality and intensity of a fully professional outfit.
“One of the main lessons that we have learned going into Round Two is that we have to be more accurate when we are attacking, particularly when we get into the opposition’s 22.
“I was very proud of the way that the players conducted themselves and collectively, we learned a lot about what is required to be even more competitive at this level.
“We are still at a stage where we are refining a number of things in our game and will continue to develop over the next four rounds.”
The Cup competition see’s both Premiership and Championship sides come together to compete for the coveted trophy in 2024. As newcomers to the league, Cambridge are quickly having to adjust to the new challenges that the tier two and one sides pose;
“The beauty of this competition is two-fold; firstly, we get to play some of the best teams in the country and secondly, we have five ultra-competitive games which will prepare us nicely for our attack on the Championship.”
When naming his side for this weekend’s clash, Williams was keen to reward players for their performances last week;
“There were some notable performances from new players Eli Caven and Jared Cardew. I was also pleased that we were able to see Sam Hanks and Matt Hema in midfield for the first time. This is a combination that I believe will flourish over time. Our core leaders also stood up and worked tirelessly for the duration of the game.
“We welcome back both Kieran Frost, Harry Morley, Matt Dawson and Tom Hoppe into our squad this week as the team has more of an experienced feel to it. The rest of the squad remains the same from Round One.”
Looking closely at the opposition for this weekend, Williams commented on the occasion ahead;
“Undoubtedly, this will be an eye-catching game for many reasons. For me, it will be a fantastic occasion for all involved and a real reward for the club and all the hard work that everyone has put in during the last few years. It is also a memory that will hopefully be talked about in the next hundred years.
“The messaging to the players this week has been simple, enjoy and embrace the opportunity. For some, this will be the only occasion they will get to run out against Northampton Saints at such a wonderful venue. We are also in a very fortunate position and will be desperate to translate some of the lessons that we have learned from Round One. Like ourselves, Saints are coming into this game off the back of losing Round One against Ealing Trailfinders. They will now be desperate to put on a show in-front of their home supporters.”
Kick off at Franklin’s Gardens is at 3pm on Saturday 16 September. Cambridge then return home on Saturday 23 September for the first of their home Premiership Cup fixtures, welcoming Cornish Pirates to Ellgia Fields. Tickets are on sale now.
Cambridge Rugby line-up:
15 – Joe Tarrant
14 – Joe Green
13 – Matt Hema
12 – Sam Hanks
11 – Eli Caven
10 – Steff James
9 – Toby Dabell
1 – Jake Elwood
2 – Ben Brownlie
3 – Matty Collins
4 – George Bretag Norris (c)
5 – Gareth Baxter
6 – Noah Sloot
7 – Ben Adams
8 – Jared Cardew
16 – Morgan Veness
17 – Harry Morley
18 – Billy Walker
19 – Kieran Frost
20 – Matt Dawson
21 – Kieran Duffin
22 – Tom Hoppe
23 – Matty Williams