Head coach Maj Gareth Slade-Jones makes two changes to the Army Under 23s’ starting line-up for tomorrow night’s Inter-Services home game with the RAF (7pm).
Indiscipline cost the Red Shirts in their opening game at the Royal Navy, the visitors racking up six yellow cards and a red as they eventually conceded a late try to lose 15-10.
However, despite the setback there were plenty of positives during a competitive contest, and Maj Slade-Jones stays loyal to the bulk of those who showed their skills in Portsmouth.
It means hooker Rgr George Coen (R Irish) will again lead the side in an unchanged front row also featuring last week’s try-scorer Spr Ryan Eastley (RE) and tight-head prop Spr Callum Buchanan (RE).
Behind them, the duo of Pte Fishwick (Mercian) and Lt Sebastian Jones (Rifles) remain united in the engine room, the sole change in the pack coming in the form of open-side flanker LCpl Finnis stepping up off the bench to join Kgn Dav Daveta and No. 8 LBdr Tokaduadua in the back row.
The half-backs of AirTpr Ben Murphy (AAC) and stand-off 2Lt Henry Lapslie (Scots), again start, the latter fit having been forced off early on last time out.
Rfn Jamie Diamond (Rifles) is again vice-captain at inside centre, joined in midfield by Gnr Tex Cobitu (RA) who switches from the wing.
He is replaced at 14 by Spr Raiqeu, among the substitutes last week, with the side rounded out by Spr Sevodi (RE) and full back Sig Ratubalavu (R Sigs).
Looking to make an impact from the bench are props Pte Saumaka (Scots) and Pte Yabaki (R Yorks), further front row cover provided by Lt McCormick (REME).
Further forwards strength is offered by LBdr Beales (RA) and Tpr TTabs Tabua (HCMR), while in a change from a week ago, there are three backs among the replacements in the form of Spr Johnson (RE), Sig Kevin van der Leest (R Sigs) and LCpl Mealor (REME).
The Army were beaten 8-7 in appalling conditions at Witney last year, and need to win to keep their hopes of alive of claiming back the IS Trophy they last won in 2021.
Words © Richard Ashton
Images – Alligin Photography © Mark Deller