PREVIEW: Ealing Trailfinders RFC v Taunton RFC – N2S Saturday 15th January 2011

The second half of the season is well under way now, and we welcome for the first time to Vallis Way, Taunton RFC – promoted last season and so far this season they have proved they are a force to be reckoned with.

Taunton currently sit 6th in national 2 South, and today’s fixture with us represents a testing start to 2011 for them. Last week they faced in-form Richmond and came off second best , losing 16-20 as Ross Broadfoot’s boot proved the difference, Taunton’s own kicking machine Gary Kingdom having an off day. Following Saturday’s game they face our opponents of last week Southend.

Their Director or Rugby Lee Waddon was quoted on the clubs website as saying the team faced a make or break month. He said "We face three of the four teams above us in the next three weeks and its a make or break time for us. By the end of the month we’ll know exactly how our season is likely to end".

After Ealing’s "nilling" of Southend last weekend, the squad were extremely pleased with the way things went, especially as they had had a long lay off. Ealing Ealing wing Owen Bruynseels said to the club website after training this week, "Last week was a tough game against a physical Southend side,we were pleased with areas of our game and were obviously pleased with our ability to keep a high scoring team down to nil ".

"The lay off over Christmas was a good time to rest and recover,however it also gave us some time to work and develop key aspects of our game"

So with that in mind, Taunton travel to West London this coming weekend, determined to end the league leader’s 100% home record so far this season. Since the two clubs met back in late September, when we ran our 17-33 winners courtesy of two tries by Phil Chesters, and one from prop Lewis Brown, and Pete Hodgkinson. Neil Hallett adding 13 points from the boot, they have had some decent results. On the road they have lost only two games – by larger margins than they would have expected though! (Henley 36-16 and Jekyll-and-Hyde side OAs 51-18).

Taunton in 2011

Since our meeting last September, Taunton have continued their recruitment drive that began following their promotion to National 2 South last season.

They welcomed to Hyde Park Fijian International Apo Satala . Satala joined in late September from Gloucester , an great exponent of the 7’s game as well. It may well be disappointing that Satala will be missing this weekend, as following a disciplinary held on Tuesday, Satala – following a red card whilst playing against Dings, received a two match ban, subsequently reduced on appeal to one week.

Missing due to injury at the start of this season’s campaign was stand off Tony Yapp – The ex Worcester Warriors, Bedford and Exeter fly half returned to the starting XV for Taunton in early October and began pulling the strings for them!

Charlie Walker Blair is their top try score on 12, followed by Chris Gervais ( – any relation to Ricky? ) on 9.

They have scored 65 tries in total this season ( Ealing on 96) , scoring 31 away from home as well, 12 in the first period and 19 in the second.

Ealing wing Owen Bruynseels said of the Taunton fixture, "We know that Taunton will be another tough physical encounter after the last game,and we are fully expecting another at the weekend,however after a good weeks training we are fully prepared for the game" .

Previous fixtures between Ealing Trailfinders & Taunton

25/09/10 Taunton 17 Ealing Trailfinders 33

Other National 2 South fixtures this weekend:

Canterbury v Old Albanians
Dings Crusaders v Jersey
Henley v Westcombe Park
Lydney v Clifton,
Richmond v Newbury
Southend v Shelford
Worthing v Hinckley