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RUGBY UNION: Hawks up for title decider
HENLEY Hawks head coach Nigel Dudding says they need to stay strong ahead of their crunch clash with Worthing.
Hawks host National 2 South leaders Worthing on Saturday, knowing victory could go a long way to them taking the title ahead of their Sussex rivals.
Henley enter the match in good form and should be champions if they win their remaining six games.
But they suffered a big blow in losing three players – Ryan Newman (knee), Ben Ashmore (shoulder) and Jevon Marsh (elbow) – to serious injuries in Saturday’s 68-15 victory over Taunton.
“It is still in our own hands,” said Dudding. “The big game is this week agaimnst Worthing.
“We could have done without what happened on Saturday in terms of the injuries, but we’ll assess and prepare properly.”
Henley have scored almost 1,000 points in the league, racking up 220 in their last four outings.
“We are playing well at the right time,” said Dudding.
“Worthing didn’t play on Saturday, so I don’t know if that helps or not, but we’ll see it as a bit of a plus.
“The important thing is that the match is here this week and we want to make the most of that.”
He added: “We have got a lot of attacking power all-round.
“A lot of people think that we are very much a running side, but we are now in a position where we can play from everywhere.”
Henley’s second team, now known as the Bulls, have also had a strong campaign, lying second behind Chinnor 2nd in Division 2 North of the Zoo Sports Shield.
Dudding has been able to rotate his squad fairly regularly and feels this will be key as the season builds to a climax.
“We have just got to make sure that the squad is big enough and strong enough and resilient enough to get through,” said Dudding.
“Other clubs have to go through serious injuries. We have got one or two people coming back as well.
“If we are good enough and have built a squad that is big enough and strong enough, then we’ll be ok.
“We have got to take it on the chin. I feel sorry for the guys who have been looking forward to the Worthing game.”