RUGBY PREVIEW: Exmouth debut for new Fijian Kinikinilau
Exmouth are poised to hand a debut to Fijian centre Naca Kinikinilau when Old Patesians pay a visit to the Imperial Ground tomorrow.
The Cockles were knocked off the top of the table in their last National League Three South West outing before Christmas, when they lost 22-15 at Newton Abbot.
Kinikinilau, who can play almost anywhere in the backs apart from on the wings, has been trying to hook up with Exmouth for a while.
Jon Hill, the Exmouth coach, stressed the club had not gone looking for a signing – he had come to them.
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"I know some people will see this as a statement of intent on our part, but that isn't the case," said Hill.
"Naca has come to this country hoping to get on in the game and his girlfriend approached us about him coming to Exmouth. I have seen DVDs of him playing in Fiji and felt he would be useful."
Barnstaple, hovering around the mid-table mark, are at home to Amersham and Chiltern in a game which worries director of rugby Kevin Squire on a number of levels.
Amersham have clambered away from the foot of the table to sit just a place and six points behind Barum in mid-table.
Barnstaple have stuffed them once, but doing it again even with home advantage may be tricky.
"Last season we hammered them away from home, then got them back to our place and struggled to win 8-0," said Squire. Amersham started poorly last season, but by Christmas time they were getting into their stride and using their contacts in Australia well to bring in players."
It has not been a great week for Barum, who have lost flanker Gary Turner to retirement after a long fight against a shoulder injury – and are without lock Tom Skelding due to sickness.
Squire has dipped into the transfer market to bring in former Cheltenham No.8 James Comber, who has been turning out for Bude.
Newton Abbot look like being a couple of forwards short for their trip to leaders London Irish Wild Geese.
Lock Colin Stewart and back-rower Brett Stroud are both ruled out, which will mean call-ups for Matt Templeman and Jason Keenan.
Brixham are at home to Redingensians looking to knock the ring-rust off quickly after going a month without a game due to postponements.
Taunton return to combative action in National Two by making the short trip to Dings Crusaders. Having lost three in a row before Christmas, the Titans need a win to keep the bottom three at arm's length.