- England Counties make thirteen changes to face the Elgon Warriors
- 'From the stature of the players we can expect a fast and physical match' - Jan Bonney, Head Coach
Rory Teague, cousin of British and Irish Lion Mike Teague, makes his England Counties debut tomorrow in what will be the squad’s most physical challenge to date.
Photo: RFU Archive
Thirteen changes have been made for the match against the Elgon Warriors at Kyadondo Rugby Club, Kampala (1600 Ugandan time).
Only five players remain from the starting line up which beat the Ugandan Barbarians 66-13 on Tuesday. Ben Pons and Richard Boyle retain the number 7 and number 5 shirts respectively, while Steve Hamilton, Chris Briers and Billy Johnson move positions as part of the reshuffle.
Teague, who joins Blackheath next season, wins his first Counties’ cap along with soon to be team mate James Cleverly. The fly half from Gloucestershire steps up in place of Will Burton, who put 26 points on the board against the Barbarians.
The Elgon Warriors squad is drawn from the best players from Kenya and Uganda as the fierce rugby rivals unite as one team. Players with East African heritage but not currently playing in the countries also feature, including flanker Daniel Adongo of the South African Blue Bulls.
Under no illusions as to how difficult it will be – Bonney
Photo: RFU Archive
The name Elgon Warriors is formed from the name of Mount Elgon, the extinct volcano on the border of the two countries, and the Warriors which the side thinks it must be to secure victory.
England Counties Head Coach, Jan Bonney said: “These changes ensure that everyone in the touring party has started a match, apart from James Linfield who is unfortunately still sidelined with injury.
“We had nine new caps against the Ugandan Warriors, which gave us the opportunity to see those players in action. We have taken their performances into account as well as drawing on players with previous Counties’ experience for the first main match.
“It is going to be a massive step up from Tuesday and we are under no illusions as to how difficult it will be. We are, however, still playing the unknown and can only prepare for that by concentrating on our own performance. We need to cut out individual errors, play our own patterns and ensure that we don’t miss tackles.
“We met the opposition at a function yesterday evening and from the stature of the players we can expect a fast and physical match. This is what touring is all about, it gives our players the opportunity to develop and test themselves in new ways.”
The match will be shown live on Supersport 9 across Africa. England Counties play the Elgon Warriors again on Saturday 16 in Nairobi (1600 Kenyan time).
England Counties Team
15. Peter Hodgkinson (Ealing & Cheshire)
14. Chris Briers (Fylde & Lancashire)
13. Tom Wheatcroft (Ealing & Warwickshire)
12. Steve Hamilton (Unattached & Yorkshire)
11. Phil Chesters (Ealing & Devon)
10. Rory Teague (Cinderford & Gloucestershire)
9. Harry Peck (Tynedale & Northumberland)
1. James Cleverly (Blackheath & Kent)
2. Sam Wilkes (Cinderford & Gloucestershire)
3. Craig Voisey (Moseley & North Mids)
4. Chris Wearmouth (Blaydon & Durham);
5. Richard Boyle (Newcastle Falcons & Northumberland)
6. Billy Johnson (Unattached & Hertfordshire)
7. Ben Pons (Moseley & North Mids)
8. Rob Baldwin (Wharfedale & Yorkshire)
16. Joe Bonner (Blackheath & Kent)
17. Jared Saunders (Saracens & Hertfordshire)
18. Gareth Rawlings (Fylde & Lancashire)
19. Dave Marwick (Stockport & Cheshire)
20. Jack Smales (Nevers & Northumberland)
21. Will Burton (Luctonians & North Mids)
22. Toby Howley-Berridge (Unattached & Eastern Counties)