Valley hope new halves pairing can stifle Club
WhichWay Valley will field a new-look halves combination as they take on Newedge Club for the second time in the Paul Y Premiership this season with hopes of extending their dominance over their arch-rivals, who are still struggling to find their feet.
Fly half Ben Rimene is away this week and his absence has forced Valley coaches Dean Herewini and Mike Diamond to rejig their backs as the Premiership resumes on Saturday after a break last week.
And they have come up with a stop-gap measure, using two scrum halves with Khrist Kopetzky coming in at fly half and partnering Kirk Munro. Frenchman Kopetzky is more comfortable playing behind his pack but with the cupboard a bit bare Valley will be hoping the plan works.
Valley ran in five tries to one in a 38-8 victory over Club in the season-opener in October. But that could be put down to rustiness, and it will definitely be a closer game at Sports Road on Saturday evening as the home team look at making a move up the ladder.
"We realise that last time they were missing a few key players and the score flattered us a lot," said Valley's Nick Hewson, who along with fellow sevens star Lee Jones will start off the bench.
Valley's main focus will be on improving their set-piece play, an area which will be crucial to the outcome of the game, with Hewson revealing that the plan will be to play as expansive a game as possible in an attempt to run their opponents into the ground.
"We have been working hard in the tackle area and in particular we feel it is important to move the big Football Club pack around. They have one of the biggest packs in the competition so it will be important to get parity at set piece. Round one is now beyond us and we must improve on the first-round performances," Hewson said.
Football Club's rugby director Kevin West believes the biggest challenge facing his team is trying to convert pressure into points, something they haven't been able to do consistently this season.
"Our challenge gets greater each week and Valley is always a massive challenge. We feel we haven't got the rewards for the work and performances we have been putting in. And again we are going to be short of players but we are confident that what will have us fighting at the business end of the season will be our depth and exposure our players are getting," West said.