National League Three South West leaders Lydney can expect a trial by scrummage at Barnstaple tomorrow.
Barum have enjoyed set-piece success in the last couple of games and it is like to be a key weapon again as they aim to become only the second team to beat Lydney this season.
Craig Shore’s arrival from Wellington has added some much-needed weight to the front row, while Shane Maddock has made a good impression after stepping up from the Development XV this term.
Strong scrummaging early on set the tone for Barnstaple’s 18-14 win against Brixham last weekend.
“We scrummaged well, the set piece was solid,” said joint head coach Steve Perry. “Craig has made an impact at tight-head and Shane can play at No 3 or 1 and is really improving.”
The win against fourth-placed Brixham was Barnstaple’s best result of the season but they could top that by beating Lydney.
They will have been encouraged by the visitors’ recent away results, which have seen them win by just two points at Newton Abbot (16-14), five at Amersham and Chiltern (8-3) and draw with Redingensians (32-32).
At Lydney in November, Barnstaple led 12-5 at half time before conceding 15 points in the last quarter of an hour to lose 27-12.
They were not helped by the sin-binning of three players – Mike Peek, Tom Heard and Jimmy Manley – and losing Perry and Winston James to injury.
Perry will be unavailable tomorrow as he nurses a hand injury, with Will Topps set to continue at fly half.
Flanker James is expected to captain the side again as Ryan Carter, who missed the Brixham game, is still unavailable.
Lydney head coach Duncan Bell, the former England and Bath prop, went on from the replacements’ bench in the first meeting but will not play tomorrow, having signed on to play for Newport Gwent Dragons for the remainder of the season.
Ex-Bath scrum half Mike Baxter will also miss the game, having suffered an injury on his debut for Lydney at Newton Abbot last weekend.