Henley Hawks start their preparations for the new campaign in earnest with a pre season match against the London Irish Wild Geese at Dry Leas. Kick off is 3pm and admission to the game is free.
The Hawks have been training for some weeks now and Director of Rugby Nigel Dudding, and joint coaches Luke Allen and Tom Gardner are putting together an exciting squad to build on last season’s fourth place. Promotion is the target this season but National 2(South) is a very tough league and good strength in depth will be an important factor. Training has been going well and some 46 players attended last week.
The game against the Wild Geese will give the coaches and supporters a chance to see how the squad is shaping up. The Hawks have managed to retain the majority of last season’s playing line up whilst also adding some exciting signings to improve the quality of the squad.
The front row has been boosted by the signing of Charlie Hughes who has spent several seasons with Old Albanian and also has plenty of National One experience.
With one of the star players of last season, Dan Barnes, leaving for London Scottish, the Hawks are delighted to announce the signing of outside half Charlie Wicks from fellow National 2(South) side, Barnes. Wicks actually started his career at Henley in the mini and junior sections of Henley RFC. He is an excellent goal kicker with real pace and will add more dynamism to the Hawks backs.
Also joining the Hawks this season is Will Bordill, who joins from county neighbours, Chinnor where he has been a first team regular over the past couple of seasons, helping them gain promotion to National 1 in 2018. Bordill was part of the Sale Sharks academy, then signed for Pro 14 outfit, Glasgow Warriors where he made several appearances whilst also being dual registered with Ayr in the Scottish Premiership. The former Scotland U21 International is an exciting openside wing forward who will add experience and quality to the back row and create competition for places.
The Wild Geese will have a point to prove on Saturday having been relegated from National 2(South) at the end of last season. The Hawks did the double over them, winning 52-0 at Dry Leas and 38-15 at Sunbury but the visitors will be looking to bounce straight back and will provide a good test for the Hawks.
With a number of players unavailable this week, to attend a wedding, it will give the younger members of the squad a chance to step up and prove themselves to the coaches.
Charlie Hughes, Andrew Stubbs, George Primett, Dave Hyde, Angus Hinton, Scott White, Marcus Lowe, Alex Bradley
Elliot McPhun, Ben Bolster, George Wood, Xavier Andre, Samir Kharbouch, George Griffiths, Jack Robinson
Henry Penrose, Taine Wagstaff, George Probyn, Huw Evans, Charlie Dominy, Ben Venner, Ewan Finley, Paolo Peschisolido, Seb Haddock, Ryan Scott-Young, Alex Burragh, Murray Bellin, Archie Van Dyke
The team continue will continue their preparations for the new season next Saturday when Rosslyn Park are the visitors to Dry Leas for a pre season match. The first game of the league campaign will be at home against newly-promoted Sutton & Epsom on Saturday, September 7th, kick-off 3pm.