Boost for Norwich RFC as they prepare to battle for survival
06:30 21 February 2014
copyright: Archant 2014
Norwich Rugby Club’s battle against relegation has been given a big boost ahead of this weekend.
The club’s first XV lost 33-10 at home against promotion hopefuls Rochford Hundred last weekend, to allow Stowmarket to sneak above them in the table.
The defeat was a fourth in seven league matches and dropped Norwich into the London 2NE relegation zone.
However the club’s players have an unexpected chance to get their home form back up to scratch straight away after tomorrow’s match at South Woodham Ferrers was switched to Beeston Hyrne.
The Essex club’s pitch is unplayable so Norwich now have home advantage for the clash, although it will still count as an away game.
It is a welcome boost and the club’s director of rugby, David Everitt, is staying calm about the club’s prospects of not slipping back down to London 3NE after just one season.
“We’re disappointed obviously, concerned yes but everything is still in our own hands,” Everitt said.
“We are one point behind Stowmarket, we’ve still got to play Stowmarket the last game of the season, here, so everything’s still in our hands.
“The guys are having a meeting to sort out the discipline problems which have bugged as all the way through the season, we give away far too many penalties, mostly because it’s naivety and over-enthusiasm.
“We’ve addressed it by having local referee David Myers come in and take training sessions with us and it had improved (but) pressure starts to tell and a young side slipped again.”
Norwich know South Woodham Ferrers well, having been promoted together last season, with Norwich beating Ferrers 20-17 at Beeston Hyrne and losing 22-16 in Essex.
Everitt added: “I’ve got every confidence that if they (the players) perform to their ability and keep their discipline, keep their shape, then we have nothing to fear.
“It’s about the character of the guys, how much they want it. The club itself and our sponsors have been fantastic for us, we need to pay them back, and the guys understand that.
“It’s just a matter of them being able to put out on the field what they learn on the training ground.”
Back row forward David Byrne was man of the match on his return to the starting XV against Rochford and is set to play again.
Jonny Wheater is the only change to the team, after picking up an injury in the 27-24 defeat to Diss in the semi-final of the Norfolk Senior Cup two weeks earlier, and will replace Aidie Ball. Nick Austin will take Ball’s place at fly-half in the continued absence of Chris Parrott, with Wheater moving to outside-centre.