MALVERN Rugby Club have been given a boost with the return of influential Owen Jones for tomorrow’s cup clash after more than a year on the sidelines.
The openside flanker starts on the bench for Malvern’s home North Midlands Cup quarter-final tie with Old Halesonians (ko 2pm), after he suffered a slipped disc in his back while playing for the club in September last year.
His team-mates bounced back from their 84-0 loss to National Three Midlands leaders Rugby Lions the previous week, to move up to eigth in the table with a 20-9 victory over Syston.
Now they take a break from their league campaign for a cup clash with fourth-placed Midlands One West side Old Halesonians.
Malvern director of rugby Andy Longley is also set to freshen up his squad, with hooker Matt Prosser and tighthead prop Joe Baker starting and Jon Clark-Jones returning after six weeks out following an operation.
A few familiar faces will be returning to Spring Lane tomorrow in the visitors’ line-up. Ex-Malvern players Chris Hooper and Jay Martin return, as does their coach Nick Tisdale.
Longley said: “Owen Jones coming back for us on the bench is a boost. He has been out since the third game of last season after having a back operation.
“He has already played a few games for our development side.
“The win over Syston was just what we needed.
“We were quite dominant in the second-half and it was pleasing that we scored three tries. We played with more intensity, energy and enthusiasm .
“The game-plan that we set up among the coaches, Liam Hughes, Adam Billig and Ben Gerry, worked well as it was a tough run we had been on and our confidence was low.”
“After nine league games in a row we have quite a few tired bodies, so will be looking to freshen it up tomorrow.
“The cup will be a nice distraction for us, hopefully we can put in a good performance.”
Tomorrow’s Malvern team.
First team v Old Halesonians (tomorrow, away – ko 2pm), meet at Spring Lane at 12.30pm, from: J Tsang, M Prosser, J Baker, N Murphy, M Williams, R Gratwohl, O Marshall, C Griffiths, T Longley, A Dixon, J Bennett, I Mustow, A Billig (c), J Southall, L Milton, J Clark-Jones, J Doorbar, M Humphreys, O Jones, N Miller, P Rawle, D Smith.