Vikings Match Preview v Barnes (A) – 27/01/24

01/25/20240
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Disappointed when their home game with Henley was postponed last Saturday, the Vikings are on the road for the third week in four, this time to Barnes and with the South West London side third in the league just four behind leaders Esher, it’s another daunting fixture. Barnes have won 12 from 16 including an impressive 33 – 38 victory at second placed Dorking last weekend. Their defeats have been to Bury, Dorking, Henley and, surprisingly, Sevenoaks. Victors at Scottow in September 0 – 36, they have a powerful set of forwards particularly strong at the set pieces and a dependable kicker in fly half Ben Cook (113 points from the tee) who previously played for Richmond in the Championship. Leading try scorers are wingers Paul Webb (7) and Cameron Roberts (6), scrum half Joshua Davies (7) and hooker Ethan Sikorski (11).

Sikorski was a try scorer in the comparable fixture last season, played coincidentally on the comparable date, which the hosts won 38 – 19. In that match of course he was playing for the Vikings who scored three tries and felt unfortunate not to leave with a bonus point, the match a closer affair than the scoreline suggested. This year’s Vikings got their first bonus point two weeks ago at Dorking and they will be looking to build on their five tries there with another improved performance. “Dorking was a major step forward for us but we need to up our game again against another quality team who are playing well,” said Niall Lear. With Jobe Brooks and James Douglas unavailable, his starting fifteen is likely to show just one change from that selected for Henley, Kurt Ehret coming into the second row, whilst there might be some changes on the replacements bench.

Barnes have been in the National Leagues since 2018 – 19 and this is just the eighth fixture between the two Clubs, all won by the London side.

Paul Morse

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