Esher ring the changes

By MARK BENGOECHEA

ESHER have rung the changes ahead of Saturday's trip to Bournemouth as they chase a fourth straight victory to keep their promotion bid on track.

Skipper Tristan Roberts has been ruled out after suffering a head injury in the victory over Old Redcliffians last week, so James Chaumeton moves to fly-half from centre to form a new halfback combination with Jack Walsh, who takes over the captaincy.

That allows Sam Druce to make his first start of the season at 12 while Martin Freeman comes in on the right wing with Tom James switching to full-back as Callum Monks is sidelined with a calf problem.

Director of Rugby Peter Winterbottom also makes three changes up front with Andy Hamilton taking the No 2 jersey as Devlin Hope moves to the bench.

Xavier Valentine is also back at tighthead while in the back row, Hugo Solway comes in for Ben Davies, who is also out after suffering concussion. Solway takes the No 6 jersey with Cam Wilkins switching to openside.

Scrum-half Ross Parsons and full-back Tom Mitchell are called into the match day squad and are set for their first action for the senior side.

Winterbottom will be keen to ensure there is no complacency in his side at Bournemouth, who earlier this month parted company with Director of Rugby Will Croker after a difficult start to life in National League Division Two South.

They endured a testing start against some of the early promotion contenders, going down heavily to Taunton, Henley and Tonbridge and also losing to Worthing and Old Albanians.

But they ended a run of five straight defeats with a 39-12 home victory over Westcliff a fortnight ago and will be hunting second straight home win over Esher at Chapel Gate.

Richard Sharp has taken charge as Interim Performance Director and he makes no secret of his approach to this weekend's clash. He said: "They (Esher) have a strong 10-man game, whereas we play a wider and more expansive brand of rugby, so it could be quite an interesting contest.

"We expect a physical encounter, with their big pack playing inside that 10. It is about being abrasive on the gain line and then looking to move the ball wide to our speedsters and make their big boys run around; really tire them out and look to finish the game off in the last 20 minutes."

Fifth-placed Esher will be hoping to claim a sixth victory of the season after closing to within five points of league leaders Tonbridge, who suffered their first defeat of the season last Saturday, going down 27-15 to Henley at home 

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