Hughes confident of Malvern victory

MALVERN Rugby Club head coach Liam Hughes remains confident his side can secure victory when high-flying Dudley Kingswinford visit Spring Lane tomorrow (3pm).

In the away National Three Midlands clash in November, Malvern made a terrible start and were 27 points down after just 25 minutes before ultimately suffering a 41-19 defeat.

On-song DKs have scored 136 points in their last two games and hold the record this season for the highest score, beating basement boys Manchester 137-0.

However, Hughes feels Malvern, who won 31-24 at Syston last weekend, can compete with DKs as long as they make a decent start to the game.

He said: “Earlier on in the season we had a horrendous start but recovered well, getting back into striking distance before conceding two late tries when we were chasing the game.

“We will be looking to avoid the poor start this time around to give us a better chance of winning the game.

“If we get off to a better start, we are confident we have the ability to win this game. South Leicester and Rugby Lions both came to Spring Lane in good form and we showed what we are capable of.

“We know we have the ability in the squad to score tries but the key this weekend will be to close DK out.

“To this end, in Nick Miller’s absence, we have reverted back to the midfield that expertly marshalled the ex-international and Premiership back-line of Rugby by selecting a fitagain Ieuan Mustow at outside-centre.

“James Southall was moved in to scrum-half at Syston and really injected some pace in to our attack so he has earned a starting spot this weekend.”

University of Worcester prop Ollie Day will be making his Malvern debut, replacing the unavailable Tim Pickard, with Joe Baker coming onto the bench for John Clark.

First XV v Dudley Kingswinford (h, 3pm): Milton; Dipple, Mustow, Watkins, Fleming; Dixon, Southall; Tsang, Humphreys, Day, Williams, Cannock, Marshall, Owen-Jones, Gratwohl.

Replacements: Longley, Edwards, Baker.

Development XV v Dudley Kingswinford (h, 2.15pm): Franssen; Hillier, Jones, Fraser, Jenkins; Cooney, Oliver; Bailey, Irish, Woods, Wilkes, Smith, Clarke, Hughes, Griffiths. Replacements: Griffiths, Hynes, Clarke.

Third XV v Hereford III (a, 2.15pm): Sharratt; Page, Brownhill, Carlen, Ziegler; TBC, TBC; TBC, Rambridge, TBC, Wolfe, Green, Hughes, White, Purcell. Replacements: Page, Merrick, Hopkins.

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