St Jacques Vikings travel to Sutton & Epsom on Saturday, looking for their maiden victory in the Zoo Sports Shield.
They lost by 10 points to Bracknell last weekend, and for long periods looked the far superior side, however defensive lapses similar to those against Richmond Normans cost them as the hosts pulled away, and in the end the mountain was too far to climb for the black-and-yellows.
They have once again worked on their defence in training, including a tough session run by Raiders Director Rugby Jordan Reynolds to hopefully make the vital improvements to be able to compete at this level.
Their opponents this week have also had a tough start to the season, and Matt Chammings who once again takes the side in Ray Smart’s absence, will be hoping it will be the Vikings who come out on top.
They are without several regulars for the trip, including their captain Leon Gardner who is needed by the Raiders this week. James Regnard is also unavailable as he is on holiday, whilst Leon Collenette, Alec Bailey and Gearoid Lee are the headline absentees this week amongst the backs.
Matt Lomas does return to the side following the finger injury which kept him out last week and he is also joined by Callum Gladstone. Lucas Barker moves back to the scrum half role, as Taylor Quate this week is asked to redeploy in the centres, where it is hoped he can help sure up the defensive issues with his solid tackling. He will also be a real threat moving forwards for the Vikings which was something that was missing last week against Bracknell.
Phil Le Noury who is a versatile young back these days is required to play in the forwards due to a shortage of back-row options. He is very familiar with the position as he grew up playing there and should not look too out of place on Saturday.
Michael Smith, the youngest of the Smith brothers is included for the first time, however this off-sets the fact his brother Jacob is out with a shoulder injury. The youngest Smith is on the bench and will be looking forward to his first taste of Vikings rugby if he gets on.