Hull RUFC passed another test last week when they overcame the spirited resistance of Bournville who contributed much to a wonderfully open game of rugby. The victory came at some cost to Hull in the form an injury to their influential back row man Laurence Cowen who has been having a tremendous season doing all the hard yards work as well as making big contributions to the attacking flair of the team. He will be missed, but Hull have other very good back row players who will get the chance to make their own mark in the next few games.
Hull’s opponents this week are Loughborough Students who are another side that plays a fast open game. In the corresponding fixture at Hull’s ground back in October the Students were only one score adrift at the final whistle having had a very good second half.
They have had one bad result this season which was a defeat away at Fylde, but otherwise most of their games have been relatively close and they have had notable victories against Chester, Ionians and Luctonians among others.
Hull have the players to overcome Loughborough and they are on a winning streak that started on November 6th, the week after a very narrow loss to Rotherham away!! This week, centre Steve Johnson comes back into contention having recovered from injury and with a space having appeared in the back row it could be that second rower Cameron Curry, who is more than capable of filling in the number 6 spot, could move there and that Gregory Jones will get the chance to go back into the pack in the second row, where he has played so well in the recent past.
The coaching staff at Hull have worked hard with the players who have responded so well to develop every aspect of their game. Fitness levels are very good and this has seen Hull outlast most, if not all sides in this league. Hull’s defence is second to none and their attacking potential is now being realised even more as the weeks go by.
This season’s new comers like scrum-half Sam Crane, centres Duell Trueman and Isefo Turaga and second row Gregory Jones have all been able to make their mark and this has given head coach Gary Pearce some strength in depth and the options any side needs as the season progresses and injuries start to take a toll.
Given that background Hull’s task this week may seem very achievable. Loughborough are by their very nature a young side with links to some of the best sides in the Premiership giving them a team of good players who will keep running until the final whistle. They will capitalise on any handling errors as Hull have experienced in past seasons.
Nevertheless, Hull will go into this game confident that they have the necessary skills and determination to come away with a victory, but it will be hard fought on an all-weather pitch that tends to favour top of the ground sides.