Zach Kibirige will come into the Blaydon side for tomorrow’s National One visit of Wharfedale.
Newcastle Falcons’ teenage flyer has made a single start for the Kingston Park club after struggling with a hamstring injury since August, and joins a Blaydon side unbeaten in seven games following last weekend’s draw at Old Albanians.
“Zach just needs a bit of game-time, and he has showed last season what he can do for Blaydon,” said director of rugby Micky Ward.
“Other than that I would expect the side to be similar to last Saturday. I have got a bit of a sore neck myself, as has Jason Smithson in the back-row, but hopefully we should both be OK.”
Delighted to have kept their unbeaten run going after losing their first four games of the campaign, he added: “We didn’t actually play that well at Old Albanians, and seemed to have a bit of a hangover from beating Doncaster the week before. To still get three points from the game was therefore a decent outcome, but we know we need to play with more intensity.”
Flanker Harry Bate scored the try which gave them a share of the spoils, Ward stating: “He has had big shoes to fill with Rob Bell leaving, but he has done brilliantly.
“He was Newcastle University’s player of the year despite being a fresher, and we brought him across after hearing good things. He is a solid lad who does the basics well, and it will be a great test for him tomorrow going up against a good open-side like Aaron Myers for Wharfedale.”
Tynedale’s search for a first win in six games sees them travelling to fourth-placed Coventry, while Darlington Park aim to keep pace with the National Two North leaders at Leicester Lions.
Percy Park host Sandal in National Three North boosted by the return of lock-forward Craig Fidler, who has been working in South Korea. The Northumberland county cap comes into a side also expected to welcome flanker Stuart Cannon back from illness.
Coach Ed Midcalf, having run leaders Rossendale close last week, said: “We are going to retain a similar squad. Even in defeat there were lots of encouraging signs, and we led at half-time.
“A number of lads stepped up from the second-team and played really well. We had a bit of a reshuffle, and were disappointed not to have at least come away from there with a bonus point.”
Durham University, meanwhile, have lost their first BUCS League game in more than three seasons after Loughborough defeated them 13-5 at Durham City.