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Premiership Rugby

Leeds Tykes’ team and preview

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Phil Davies looks ahead to the Tykes trip to London Irish this Sunday kick off 3pm.

I am looking forward to the trip to London Irish this week as last weeks win has given the squad a boost.  The last few weeks have been really testing because we have needed to make so many changes to the group due to injuries.

I'm really proud of the way the players performed and I'm delighted to get our first win considering all of that. To lose Colm Rigney to a nine week suspension is a blow but that gives James Ponton a chance for an extended run in the team and that is something he has been looking for for a couple of seasons.  Dan Hyde was a number eight when he first came to us and played the whole of his first season here in that position so I am sure that he will be able to adapt to that role.  Hopefully, we will have either Aaron Persico or Alix Popham back after the group stage of the World Cup as Wales and Italy are in the same group with New Zealand so that will ease the problem of losing Colm.

It has been a positive week this week and the lads have really rolled their sleeves up and are working hard for each other. We have to get on with the situation as it is now and I am sure we will be the stronger for it.

London Irish are a very strong side.  They beat Gloucester in their last home game and they will be looking forward to getting back home after last weeks narrow defeat against Harlequins.  Irish scored the only try of the game last week, which given Quins good start to the season, speaks volumes for the threat that they will pose to us.

They have a strong pack and in players like Paul Sackey, Justin Bishop and Michael Horak they have the strike players who can punish you if they get the possession.

I can not knock our players commitment at the moment.  The physios have done a tremendous job. They've patched a few players up and got them out there while the rest are doing rehab with them. We brought Ryan Walker in last week as we've already got two scrum-halves injured but he only got off the plane from South Africa on the Tuesday before the game. For him to score a try last week on his debut and look so sharp was exceptional, he can only get better for us.


Phil Davies makes one enforced change to the side that defeated Rotherham last Friday with Colm Rigney beginning his nine week suspension this week.  Matt Salter returns to the starting line up after recovering from injury and will slot into the back row.  Dan Hyde will revert to number eight to cover for Rigney with Salter and James Ponton will make up the back row.  Another product of the Tykes Academy gets a chance to shine on the bench with Matthew Stockdale named in the squad for the first time.  Back rower Stockdale is originally from York and joined the Tykes Academy whilst at Leeds University.


15. Matt Cardey14. David Rees 13. Dan Scarbrough12. Liam Botham 11. Phil Christophers10. Duncan Hodge9. Ryan Walker


1. Gary Powell2. Rob Rawlinson 3. Matt Holt4. Scott Morgan 5. Stuart Hooper6. James Ponton7. Matt Salter8. Dan Hyde (c)


16. Michael Cusack 17. Steve Millard18. Carl Hogg19. Matthew Stockdale20. Mark Chester21. Tristan Davies22. Tim Walsh



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