Billingham preview
By Patrick Moore

Huddersfield RU will have to be at the top of their game if they want to make it four wins from four against Billingham on Saturday (3pm).

Gareth Lewis’ side put on a fantastic second half performance to come away from Kendal with a 27- 5 win thanks to tries from Elliot Hodgson, Adam Malthouse and Austen Thompson.

But their next opponents Billingham put Firwood Waterloo to a 99-7 sword last weekend in one of the most one-sided rugby union games at National Three North level history.

The Teesiders ran in an unbelievable 15 tries, including hat tricks from both wingers Adam Radwan and Thomas Briggs, as they blew the Mersey-siders away, and captain Peter Evans believes “that no one can touch them on their day”.

Huddersfield, though, must look to build on from their faultless start so far as they look to make an immediate return to the National Two North.

Lewis said “To come away from home and take four points is obviously pleasing, but we must improve our composure in the final third and convert our try scoring opportunities,”

“The first half was not good enough. We were soft in the contact area and lacked tempo in our play. I let the lads know at half time that it wasn’t good enough and they responded very well.”

There were more positives than negatives though, and Lewis gave special praise to his team including Chris Bell who has a very impressive 100% kicking conversion after three games.

“I thought Bell controlled field position well and his kicking off the tee was first class. Franny Entressangle and Nick Rhodes have struck up a real understanding in the line out as well which is providing us with a platform to attack, they both played very well at the weekend again.”

“Lewis Bradley carried the ball fantastically well all afternoon and gave us go forward in the second half.” Huddersfield have only conceded 29 points in the league so far, which is the lowest in the league.

Meanwhile, head coach Chris Hyndman has seen his Billingham side score the most points as they took their tally to 145 for the season with the emphatic win.
They now have two bonus points with their victories whilst the Field await their first bonus point.

Billingham beat Ilkley 29-16 on the opening day of the season, but were beat 30-17 Hull before their thumping victory at home. The Field sit second in the table whilst Billingham are fifth, but both teams will know they can really put a push to top the table with a win, showing that the Lockwood Park encounter is set to be a mouth-watering one.

Lewis added: “Billingham really put Firwood Waterloo to the sword last week so they will be high on confidence coming to Lockwood Park so we will need to stamp our authority of the game early.”

“We obviously need to be better than last week. We’ve worked hard this week on our decision making in the red zone, physicality around the contact area and our defensive organization.”

Lewis has made a few changes to his side, with Joel Hinchliffe and Danny Grainger returning to the starting XV, whilst Nick Sharpe starts from the bench. Austen Thompson is also back in the starting line-up and taking the captain’s armband as Skipper Alex Battye suffered a head injury in training on Thursday evening and is omitted as a precaution.

“We’ve selected a strong side that we believe will do a job for us,” Lewis says. “But competition is fierce within the squad so these lads have to perform to keep the shirts.”

Starting XV:
15. Workman
14. Conway
13. Hodgson
12. Owen
11. Grainger
10. Bell
9. Hinchliffe
8. Malthouse
7. Hoyle
6. Bradley
5. Thompson(c)
4. Rhodes
3. Tamanis
2. Entressangle
1. Pollard


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