Cinderford RFC: Skipper remains confident despite loss of wingers
CINDERFORD could be without free-scoring wingers Nev Codlin and Lloyd Stapleton when they take on Coventry away in the second clash of the season.
The National One outfit lost Stapleton to a hamstring injury after just 20 minutes of the term in the 11-6 home defeat to Rosslyn Park last weekend.
Stapleton faces a late fitness test to see if he is able to join the squad travelling to Coventry (3pm).
Last year's top try-scorer Codlin is unavailable and he will have to wait another week to open his scoring campaign this season.
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Stef Hawley came off the bench to replace Stapleton last week.
The full-back will remain on the bench at the Butts Park Arena, as Sam Hanks and Chris Hawkins are named in the starting line-up.
Skipper George Evans says losing both wingers will be a hit to the side, but the powerful number eight has full faith the replacements will be up to the challenge Coventry pose.
He said: "We know Lloyd and Nev score tries.
"But I played with Chris at Hartpury College. When he is on form he is a very dangerous player. He has quick feet, he has speed and he can be physical."
Danny Pointon, who has been named on the bench, and Clive Stuart Smith also face late fitness tests. Stuart Smith was replaced by scrum-half Pointon in the starting line-up last week.
Centre Brad Davies will start for Cinderford for the first time this season, lining up alongside brother Mark Davies for the first time in his career.
The former Gloucester fly-half has won his race for fitness after an elbow injury kept him sidelined against Rosslyn Park.
Evans believes his wealth of experience will bring much to the Foresters attack, despite the loss of first-team wingers Codlin and Stapleton.
The 26-year-old said: "Brad has been around, he has done it all. His presence on the team will be a massive lift. When paired up with Jack Adams and with Mark at 12, you've got backs full of experience.
"Brad has a lot demand because of that experience, we all expect from him, and now he's got to show it."
After the opening weekend defeat, Evans called on his men to be more clinical in their final execution.
While the forwards were committed in defence and tackling, the Foresters let several game-winning chances slip through their fingers in the final five minutes.
Now, nothing but a win will do against Cov.
Evans said: "We are feeling confident, despite Coventry's big win over new boys Hull Ioanians last weekend.
"We have done well on the road in pre-season, and we hope to get at least four points from the game. Coventry have recruited well so I'm sure there will be a lot of new faces.
"Now we need a big game form the front five. Coventry have always been forward-orientated, so they need to work hard, be physical, and be technical and clinical in the scrum and lineout.
"If we get that right, and we beat them up front, we can unleash Brad, Jack, Mark and our wingers to score."
Gloucester coach Paul Moriarty has worked with the Foresters this week, focusing on technique in defence as well as slowing the ball down in the contact area.
Evans has hailed the influence such a stalwart of the sport has had on the men, and says the players are 'switched on' and mentally ready for tomorrow's clash.
He said: "We have done little things with Paul to speed things up, as well as working on ways to get back into the game, slowing their ball down and being clinical at the breakdown.
"The forwards have worked on looking after the ball, keeping the ball in hand.
"We need to be clinical and not make any mistakes."