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Home away from home for Southampton
An ‘away’ team’s clubhouse is so close to its opponents’ pitch that players are considering using their own changing rooms.
Southampton RFC ‘travel’ to Snows Group Hampshire 1 leaders Team Solent tomorrow – with the field closer to their own HQ than to the students’ base.
The situation has come about after Team Solent leased one of Southampton’s pitches after developing sporting facilties at Test Park, Redbridge.
The clubs have had close links in the past and the University even cut Southampton’s pitches as part of the deal.
However, on the field the sides have had very different starts to this season.
Team Solent have taken the league by storm after winning promotion and sit on top of the table. Saints are battling to put a poor start behind them and build on their single victory.
Southampton coach Kevin Bouault said: “We had a very, very slow start to the season and are catching up but are six to eight weeks behind where we should have been.
“We now have a couple of selection problems whereas up until now it has been availability problems. We are picking from a position of strength rather than availability, which is a lot healthier.”
As for using their own or Solent’s facilities he said: “We have not really spoken about using our changing rooms but it would probably be a lot easier – it’s certainly the closest away game we have ever had.”
Team Solent’s Matt Bishop said: “They (Southampton) are welcome to use our changing rooms, facilites and bar, but it is a difficult one, their changing rooms are closer to the pitch than ours.”
The students will be without captain George Knight and player/coach Tom Morton for the game.
Bishop added: “We have a strong bench and are expecting a brutal battle. I have a lot of respect for Southampton Rugby Club and we will not be taking anything for granted.”
Brook captain Mike Randell said: “The club is really pushing to go places at the moment both on and off the field and victory Saturday will certainly help us continue to progess.”
Centre Dan Wade will return to the mix and back row Mike Trench and Mike Mulcahy return to the side. Recent good form means forwards Donovan Richards and Ryan Jones and back Chris Foxall keep their places.
Randell added: “With the exception of Farnborough, our recent performances have been getting stronger and stronger. I expect to field a strong side and I know the lads cannot wait to get onto the field and battle against our opposition.”
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