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Winterbottom calls for big improvement


PETER WINTERBOTTOM says Esher must step up their game if they are to bring down high-flying Henley Hawks at Molesey Road on Saturday.

Esher's Director of Rugby was disappointed with his side's performance in their 20-15 defeat at Worthing last weekend that ended their five-match winning run.

It leaves Esher in fourth place, nine points off top spot with a third of the campaign gone, and three points behind Henley, who slipped to a surprise home defeat to Clifton last time out.

Now Winterbottom admits Eees must find their best form if they are to bring down the Hawks, who are the only side to have beaten leaders Tonbridge Juddians this season.

He said: "It's a big game for both of us. We came up against a very committed Worthing side last week and it was a disappointing result. Our game management was poor, we didn't win enough quality ball and we didn't use it wisely enough.

"We'll need to have solid set-piece against Henley and play in the right areas of the pitch. Henley are a very good side; when they get space and time, they play some very good rugby and we'll certainly have to be on our mettle.

"Defensively, we're going to have to be very solid because they do take their opportunities well and they've scored a lot of points this season, so we're going to have to be at our best to contain them.

"We're quite aware that we have to put in a very good performance to give ourselves a chance of winning. We certainly can't be below 100 per cent on Saturday. If we play well, we've got a chance of winning. But we can't give away soft point as we did at Worthing. We probably let ourselves down a little bit."

Once again, Esher make changes to the starting XV following the defeat at Worthing due to combination of injuries, illness and team selection.

There are two changes to the front row with Ben Atkins starting at hooker and Dan Lamb in at tighthead while in the back row, Ben Davies starts at openside with Cam Wilkins switching to blindside.

There are two changes in the backs with Joe Beckett reclaiming the No11 jersey while Tom Mitchell gets a start at full-back with Corey Venus and Callum Monks ruled out though illness

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