Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Injury-Hit Borders on Track for Clash

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Injury-Hit Borders on Track for Clash

Article excerpt

Byline: By Andrew Baldock

The Borders are hoping their injury crisis will have subsided in time for tonight's Heineken Cup Pool Four clash with Northampton at Netherdale (7.30).

Tony Gilbert's side earned praise for their resilience in defence in last weekend's 20-3 defeat away to the Saints, especially as they were without five backs and, during the game, Semo Sititi and Campbell Feather also suffered injuries which cut short their participation.

Gilbert is hoping both Sititi (bruised ribs) and Feather (ankle) will be available tonight and is also optimistic that most of the other injury victims - Calum MacRae, Gareth Morton, Cammie Murray, Andy Turnbull and Tanner Vili - will recover in time to play in what promises to be one of the season's major occasions at Netherdale.

It will be the first opportunity for Scottish rugby fans to see members of England's World Cup-winning team in action. Intriguing tussles are anticipated, including the one between international wingers Nikki Walker and Ben Cohen.

Gilbert said: "In last week's match against Northampton I was happy with the courage and attitude of the players, though we can never be happy at losing a match.

"Northampton didn't play as well as they wanted to play - partly that was down to their own execution, and partly it was because of the pressure we put on them.

"They'll be looking for more on Friday and it's up to us to front up to that. We certainly need to take our attitude from last week's match into Friday's game."

Northampton coach Wayne Smith has shuffled his back division. New Zealander Bruce Reihana moves from centre to full-back, Mark Tucker starts in midfield, and Smith goes with a half-back combination of Paul Grayson and Mark Robinson.

Nick Beal, Shane Drahm and Johnny Howard all drop down to the bench, and there is still no return for injury-hit England World Cup star Matt Dawson, who has played just 28 minutes' rugby since returning home from Australia. …

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