All Golds v Oldham match preview
The University of Gloucestershire All Golds face Championship One promotion contenders Oldham this Sunday, as both sides look for their first victories in the league.
Both teams come into the match on the back of opening day derby defeats almost a fortnight ago, and will be going all out to ensure they gain their inaugural three points of the 2013 league campaign.
The All Golds were defeated narrowly by Oxford, whilst Oldham lost to Rochdale in similar circumstances. Both sides picked up one point however for losing by less than twelve points. The Kingstone Press Championship One fixture will be played at the Prince of Wales Stadium, Cheltenham. Kick-off is at 3pm.
The match will cap a remarkable week for the All Golds. Last Sunday they gained their second professional victory over Skirlaugh, and were also drawn against Super League side Salford City Reds in the Challenge Cup. This match is on Sunday 21st April.
University of Gloucestershire All Golds head coach Brad Hepi said: "So far this season we've had some good away form, and now we need to transfer that to our home fixtures. Winning your home games is vital, and with the support of the crowd can provide the springboard for a good season."
Oldham come into the fixture with an almost entirely new outfit, retaining only six players from last season's squad, and also with a different coaching team. Despite this and two defeats on the bounce for the club, they still remain challengers for promotion.
Commenting on Oldham, Hepi said: "Oldham are a tough side, and always provide a strong, stern opposition for whoever they face. They've got a talented squad, and the so the boys will need to be on top form come Sunday."
Oldham had an extremely impressive Northern Rail cup campaign, in which they defeated three sides in Championship One including early league leaders North Wales Crusaders. The Roughyed's have also strengthened well with a number of ex Super League players, including former St Helens players Dale Bloomfield and Liam Gilchrist.
Hepi believes the All Golds have a good chance of victory however if they play to their potential. He said: "At times we're playing some excellent rugby, but we need to eradicate simple errors and cheap turnovers on the first and second tackles of our sets. At this level you'll get punished for this, and if we cut this out then I'm confident the right results will start to come our way."
Regarding team news for the All Golds, Brad Hepi is set to miss out after a dislocated shoulder suffered in last weekend's fiery affair. Local lad Joe McClean will be hoping his recent fine form for feeder club Bristol Sonics will earn him a recall to the side however. Welshman Pat Evans is also pushing for a recall, with All Golds new boy Brendan Smith set to make his home debut after a promising performance against Skirlaugh. In form Tyla Hepi could also return from Super League duty at Hull KR.
Elsewhere, University of Gloucestershire All Golds French winger Maxime Claustres is still a few weeks away from full fitness, and is still recovering from the facial fracture he suffered last month in the clubs Northern Rail cup campaign.
For tickets and information regarding all of the All Golds upcoming games, visit www.allgoldsrugby.com. Adults cost £10 and concessions £6 for the Oldham match. Children under 16 go free.
The University of Gloucestershire All Golds side will be selected from the following: Conrad Jones, Connor Jones, Dale Cooper, James Gahan, James Walter, Joe McClean, Joel James, Jordan Rice, Josh Williams, Marcus Brooker, Marcus Brown, Matthew Bradley, Michael Venn, Michael Norman, Michael Stewart, Ollie Yeats, Patrick Evans, Richard Jones, Rory Sharratt, Sam Blaney, Tawanda Chipadza, Timothy Bergin, Tyla Hepi, Yannic Parker, Callum Mulkeen, Phil Cowburn, Brad Hepi, Brendan Smith