Hemel Stags v All Golds Match Preview

Gloucestershire All Golds face Championship One high flyers Hemel Stags away this Sunday, as they look to gain their first victory in the league.

The Kingstone Press Championship One fixture will be played at Pennine Way, Hemel Hempstead. Kick-off is at 3pm.

Both sides come into the match in completely different form. The All Golds currently sit eighth in the league after two home defeats, whilst the Stags are in second after victories against Gateshead Thunder and London Skolars.

Commenting after the defeat to Salford City Reds in the Challenge Cup last Sunday, All Golds head coach Brad Hepi said: “It’ll be a difficult test for the boys on Sunday. However, they competed against a quality opposition today for 20 minutes and that should give them confidence. The question is now; can they turn that into a full 80 minute performance?”

The fixture will be Hemel’s third in eight days, after losing to Super League side Wakefield Wildcats in the Challenge Cup last Sunday. They were also defeated narrowly by Championship One leaders North Wales Crusaders on Tuesday, in the Northern Rail Cup.

However, Stags head coach Troy Perkins is optimistic ahead of the match, believing his side’s forwards will be key in providing victory. Commenting on the All Golds he said: “They’re a pretty enthusiastic team, but they’re quite young and they aren't the biggest.

“Hopefully we can get over the top of them in the pack and set ourselves up for a good result. We targeted the games against the other new teams in the competition as games we really wanted to win.”

The two teams have already met this year, with Hemel gaining victory in Cheltenham despite the All Golds being ahead at half time. The match in the first round of the 2013 Northern Rail Cup was a high tempo and passionate match, which saw three sin bins, and the Stags eventually running out as worthy winners 36 points to 18.

Regarding team news for the All Golds, there are no new injury worries with Maxime Claustres the only doubt for Sundays match. Hemel Stags are set to give Miles McLeod (dead leg) and Jake Hobbs (ankle) late fitness tests.

Gloucestershire All Golds U20’s side will provide the curtain raiser to the tie, with a tough match against Hemel Stags reserve side. The squad has been formed during the past two weeks, with a mixture of players produced through the All Golds youth system and one of the club's feeder colleges, SGS College. The team will also feature one or two first team players, who will provide much needed impetus and experience for the young squad.

Looking ahead to the clash, All Golds reserve grade head coach Dan Garbutt was confident in the squad’s abilities and said: "We've put together a great squad and will continue adding to it throughout the season.

"It’ll certainly be a challenging year, but we need to focus on the development of players to provide good quality for the first team."

For tickets and information regarding all of the All Golds upcoming games, visit www.allgoldsrugby.com. Tickets for this Sundays match can be bought from www.hemelstags.com. Adult cost £12, concessions £6 and children under 16 £1.

Gloucestershire All Golds side will be selected from the following: Phil Cowburn, James Gahan, Callum Mulkeen, Yannic Parker, Tim Bergin, James Greene, Matt Bradley, Mike Stewart, Rory Sharratt, Tyla Hepi, Sam Blaney, Rich Jones, Jordan Rice, Joe McClean, Marcus Brown, Maxime Claustres, Pat Evans, James Walter, Marcus Brooker, Brendan Smith, Ollie Yeats, Jamie Crowther, Mike Norman, Mike Venn, Tawanda Chipadza, Brad Hepi