Vikings Match Preview v Bury St.Edmunds (H) – 16/12/23

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Norfolk and Suffolks’ premier sides lock horns this weekend, with Bury St Edmunds the visitors to Scottow Park. Bury have been in National Two for nine years now without yet mounting a serious promotion challenge, but this could well be their year as they currently lie fifth in the table, 12 points behind leaders Esher who have played an extra game. With nine wins from 12 overall they have been on an unbeaten run since September which has included victories over the League’s top three sides. They play an attractive brand of rugby and average more than four tries a match, with winger Will Attfield their leading try scorer with nine, followed by flanker Ruaraidh Williams and back row/second row George Grigg-Pettitt both on seven. Their squad includes centre George Loose who learnt his rugby in the Youth & Minis at Scottow and Langley School and was the Vikings’ Young Player of the Year last season. Loose was one of 15 new signings pre-season, as Bury brandished their cheque book.

Conditions on Saturday will be very different to the September fixture at Bury when the temperature was above 30 degrees. Bury won that one 50 – 17 running in eight tries, five of them in a blistering 15 minutes just before half time. The Vikings scored three tries that day – two for Harry Dye and one for Harry Steward – the closest they have come to a try bonus point yet this season.

There are likely to be a couple of changes in the Viking’s line up compared to last week’s match versus Old Albanian. Pieter de Lange is unavailable but Henly Brightman returns to the front row after injury, whilst in the backs Ross Magnus and Benji Hewitt will probably swap starting positions and there could be a place for Harry Steward. “Last week was our best performance of the season and hopefully we’ll improve again this,” said Niall Lear. “It’s another tough one: Bury are a high quality side whom I expect to be in the promotion mix when it comes to the end of the season.”

 

Paul Morse

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