Andy Bulumakau and Dan Faleafa have shaken off injury concerns to face Hartpury in tomorrow’s Greene King IPA Championship round 14 clash (Butts Park Arena, 3pm kick off).
Faleafa is named on the blindside flank, where, in the absence of the injured Jack Ram, he partners the in-form Ben Nutley and Aussie sevens international Ben Adams in a mobile back row.
Phil Boulton, who captains the side from tight head, is joined by front-row colleagues Scott Tolmie and James Gibbons, while Scott Russell is given the opportunity to pack down alongside George Oram in the engine room.
Tom Kessell and Will Maisey are named at half-back while Cov’s coaching group have opted for the same three-quarter line that started last week’s cup defeat at London Irish.
This means Heath Stevens and Rob Knox combine in the centre, while the Bulumakau brothers join David Halaifonua in a back three which carries plenty of attacking threat.
Samoan international prop Donald Brighouse, Latu Makaafi, Tom Jubb and Pete White are among the replacements on a bench featuring a five-two split of forwards and backs.
- James Gibbons
- Scott Tolmie
- Phil Boulton ©
- Scott Russell
- George Oram
- Dan Faleafa
- Ben Nutley
- Ben Adams
- Tom Kessell
- Will Maisey
- Andy Bulumakau
- Heath Stevens
- Rob Knox
- Junior Bulumakau
- David Halaifonua
- Phil Nilsen
- Charlie Beech
- Donald Brighouse
- Tom Jubb
- Latu Makaafi
- Pete White
- Dan Lewis
Director of rugby Rowland Winter said:
“When we played Hartpury in September we had lots of new faces. The weather also caught us out a little, we didn’t manage to adapt our game-plan to the conditions and Hartpury played efficient rugby.
“Since then we have learned plenty of lessons about playing on a winter surface, looking after the ball and we have shown recently that we can both defend and attack successfully against teams at the top end of the table.
“We now have to put all that together against a team that are fighting for their lives – which won’t be easy. I know John Barnes will prepare his team well for this weekend and they are a strong unit of tight-knit players who will really challenge us in front of a big Butts Park Arena crowd.”
Watch Rowland preview the match with BBC C&W’s Alec Blackman below:
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Advanced tickets for the IPA Greene King Championship clash with Hartpury on Saturday February 9, preferentially priced at £18 (seated), £15 (standing) and £2 (ages three to 16) are available from the Butts Park Arena ticket office on 02476 231001.