The Vikings travel for their first away fixture of the season tomorrow, but up until Thursday they were not sure who they would be playing after Worthing Raiders and then their replacements Old Albanians both cancelled the game due to lack of players. But at the 11th hour Bracknell, stepped in to arrange our away league fixture against the Berkshire club earlier than expected.
After a much improved performance against Brighton Blues 2nd XV two weeks ago, Matt Chammings who leads the side in the absence of Ray Smart, is hoping the side can take forward that momentum.
He said: “We were very pleased with the improvement in our performance against Brighton, however that will count for nothing if we don’t build on it against Bracknell. We have to hold ourselves accountable in defence, and the effectiveness of our line speed and first up tackles will be the key. There were several work-on's from the Brighton game and I hope the boys can make those improvements this week.”
“We expect Bracknell to be a big side, who will carry hard and potentially work a lot around the edges of the breakdown. But if we can get our defence right, our attack should sort it’s self out as it did against Brighton.”
Team news ahead the match, Alec Bailey comes in for his first game for the Vikings in a long time after missing nearly all of last season through injury. The veteran fly-half will slot straight into the side after Matt Lomas was ruled out through a hand injury picked up in training. Bailey will add vital experience to what is largely is a talented but fairly young back line.
The Raiders Nick Merrien is once again back in the Vikings squad, and he will partner up in the back-row with James Regnard and Mitchell Smith. Merrien performed well for the Vikings two weeks ago and he will be hoping to have another strong showing to help get himself back into the Raiders squad.
The very impressive hat-trick try scorer from two weeks Darrin Bellingham is away this week, but nonetheless the forwards look to be a strong unit with the experienced Dave Harvey and fast developing Tom Creed in the second-row and Barney Paul, Leon Gardner and Nico Ashplant up front, in addition to the big back-row. Jacob Smith is also back and amongst the replacements, and poised to make hopefully a big impact from the bench.
Leon Collenette also comes back into the side after being unavaibale two weeks ago, and he will start at fullback. He will be joined in the back three by Mike Agyei-King and young Academy product Kieran Creber, with the latter being rewarded with a start after a really strong performance off the bench against Brighton.
The Vikings are once again entering the unknown, having little knowledge of Bracknell, but the excitement is building amongst the players as they go in search of their first victory in Zoo Two. Keep an eye out for the score on our social media pages.