As Saturday approaches, rugby fans in Hull and surrounding area are contemplating the biggest derby clash for many years when Hull Ionians and Hull, rivals in the fourth tier of English rugby union, meet at Elloughton the home of Ionians.
The game will be a fascinating contest. Ionians have home advantage and have beaten most of the sides they have played from the lower half of the division comfortably. They occupy sixth place in the league whilst Hull are 16 points above them in third place behind Stourbridge and Rotherham.
Hull’s only defeats so far were against Stourbridge and Rotherham by very narrow margins and both away from home. Ionians have lost at home against Rotherham and Sedgley Park by the odd score and losses on their travels at Loughborough, Fylde and most recently against Stourbridge.
On results, Hull RUFC would seem to have a slight edge, but home advantage, a passionate crowd and the need for points to get back into the promotion hunt will mean that Ionians will provide the sternest of tests.
Hull have had some injury problems that can afflict many sides at this stage of the season but they are hoping to add backrow forward Will Hall to the squad this week and while second row Cameron Curry and centre Ali Heard will not feature until later in January their replacements, Gregory Jones and Duell Trueman fitted in well last week.
If Hull can continue with their strong forward displays especially at the set pieces, execute their game plan and play to their strengths, they will provide formidable opposition, but it will be close call against a side that will go all out for a victory they need to ease up the table themselves.