Brixham coach Dan Parkes said only a fool would underestimate lowly Oxford Harlequins ahead of tomorrow’s trek to Cowley.
The Fishermen appear to be favourites as they are sixth in the National League Three South West table and Quins one off the bottom with only two wins so far. Parkes said he hopes to win, but does not expect an easy ride.
“Exmouth needed two tries in the last five minutes to win up there a couple of weeks ago – and they are above us in the table,” said Parkes.
“Quins are always down at the bottom around this time of the season, but generally pull a few players in before it is too late and get out of trouble every time.”
Exmouth are set to recall veteran scrum-half Garry (corr) Hooper for a rearranged date with Redingensians on the Imperial Ground.
Hooper has largely played in the second XV this season but has agreed to come back to help Exmouth out of spot.
Wing Jack Downie suffered a broken leg in the friendly win over Taunton last time out, prompting coach Jon Hill into some reshuffling.
“Matt Ryan has been at scrum-half, but has played most of his rugby for us on the wing,” said Hill.
“It makes sense to put Matt on the wing and Garry at scrum-half.
“That way we are playing people with experience in the positions they are going in to.”
Newton Abbot hope to bounce back from their 13-try hammering at Weston when they travel to lowly Malvern.
“How we react to a setback of that magnitude is more important now than why it happened,” said director of rugby Roy Henderson.
Barnstaple have no game at first XV level tomorrow. A week off has allowed director of rugby Kevin Squire to devote some time to strengthening his squad, and in particular the scrum-half slot.
Former England Colleges No.9 James Bath has signed on for Barum. Ben Vellacott has been first choice for most of this season, but has juggled Barum games with Exeter Academy commitments and isn’t always available.
Promising colt Calum (corr) Sumners is vital to the Under-18 set-up in their chase for Merit Table trophies and not part of the first XV thinking.
Toby Williamson has been filling in for Vellacott, but with Bath on board could be redeployed elsewhere in the team.
Taunton resume the fight against relegation from National League Two South by making the short trip to Clifton tomorrow.