RUGBY PREVIEW: Hard graft can upset Exiles, insists Hill
Exmouth coach Jon Hill believes his side's ability to adapt will be crucial if they want to win tomorrow's top-of-the-table clash in National Three South West at London Irish.
Irish top the table with Exmouth second after the Cockles beat Weston 48-8 last Saturday.
Every other team in the divisions apart from Exmouth has faced Irish, so Hill has had plenty of reports about them from fellow coaches.
While respecting what Irish have achieved – 11 straight league wins and only two dropped bonus points – Hill disputes notions of a one-sided affair. "Lots of graft on the training pitch has given us the best defence in our division bar none," said Hill.
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"We have not lost for 11 games in league and cup and one reason for that is we can vary how we play depending on the opposition. We did that against Brixham, we did that against Chippenham and we did it against Weston and their massive pack last Saturday. We he have to do it again."
Newton Abbot have their best chance yet of breaking their Barnstaple bogey when the two sides clash in the Devon derby at Rackerhayes tomorrow. The prediction comes from Barnstaple's director of rugby Kevin Squire, who until now has a record to be proud of in the league against Newton Abbot.
In two stints as Barum's playing supremo, Squire claims he has not lost a league game to Newton, although there have been a couple of blips in the Devon Cup.
Squire has had the form guide out over the past few days and reckons it does not make good reading for Barum followers.
"Technically and tactically we have beaten Newton Abbot 11 times out of 11 in the league while I have been in charge," said Squire. "I am not saying we can't win there, but they have to be favourites this time for a number of reasons.
"We have a youthful and inexperienced side and the new players in it haven't learned yet how to win games like this. If those buy into the experienced players' expertise we might pull it off.
"The big thing for me is that Newton Abbot have a new management team this season and because of that are finally fulfilling the potential that has been there for some time."
Elsewhere in National Three South West, Brixham are away to Malvern and Taunton make the long trip to Canterbury in National Two South on the up after thrashing Barking 78-0.
Having two places clear of the drop zone, Taunton can go at least one more by winning in Kent as Canterbury are the next side up.