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Esher must be ruthless says Winterbottom


PETER WINTERBOTTOM wants Esher to find their ruthless touch as they face National Two Division South's bottom side Bournemouth at Molesey Road on Saturday.

And the Eees Director of Rugby is also demanding a reaction to the Jekyll and Hyde display that saw them scrape a 25-25 draw in an extraordinary match at Old Redcliffians last week.

Winterbottom was dismayed with the way Esher started the game in Bristol as they conceded three quick tries despite holding the advantages of slope and elements in the first half.

Esher fought back to level in the dying moments with a late try from Lorcan Dow under the posts only for Sam Druce to have his conversion charged down due to his extended run-up.

That botched conversion summed up a frustrating day for Winterbottom and he hopes his side can make amends against Bournemouth, who have won only two of their 20 games this season and were beaten 24-7 by the Amber and Blacks in October.

Winterbottom said: "Our performance at Old Redcliffians was well below what we expect, although we did well to claw our way back into the game and of course we had the chance to win it.

"Sam was distraught after the game, but I said to him we didn't win or lose the league because of it. It's a learning curve for Sam but he's done fantastically well for us this season.

"But now I'm looking for more than a reaction after last week. I'm looking for a quality performance both individually and collectively. We're aiming for a convincing victory.

"We've talked about complacency this season and that's why I put the pressure on the players to say we expect you to go out there and dominate and win. The bottom line is we have got to be more ruthless. Although we have shown that in patches, it hasn't been enough."

The draw in Bristol leaves Esher in seventh spot in Division Two South while Bournemouth Lions face a huge task to avoid relegation with their last win coming from Old Redcliffians two months ago.

The fact they beat the Bristol side should serve as timely reminder that Esher cannot afford to be complacent with the Lions' only other victory coming at home against Westcliff in October, a side they also drew with last month on their travels.

Esher make several changes to the side that drew at Old Redcliffians with No8 Dow coming in for Ben Davies in the back row, Charlie Gossington switching to openside.

Jack Walsh is back to start at scrum-half, with Sam Bullock unavailable, while Joe Beckett replaces James Booth on the left wing. Tom James, who had to withdraw from last week's game because of illness, reclaims the No14 jersey so Tom Mitchell moves to full-back in place of Callum Monks.

On the bench, Dev Hope, Tom Lloyd and Harrison Collins are all back alongside Hugh Sloan and Gus Locke.

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1st XV Match Report written by Richard Spiller
Esher 1st XV line up to face Bournemouth at home