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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Blues set for test

SECOND place looms large on the horizon for Furness as they target two wins form their next two games.

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CUMBRIA LEAGUE RU

The Blues welcome Penrith A to the Strawberry Grounds tomorrow for the first of those fixtures, before travelling to third-placed Windermere next week.

Coaches Gary Pritchard and Corne Els have a strong squad to choose from for tomorrow’s game and Pritchard is hopeful of taking maximum points (2.15pm kick-off).

“We beat them up there (20-12),” said the Blues player/coach, whose side recorded a fine 20-19 win at Silloth to leap above them in the table last week. “It was a good win, but a close game.

“They play a very similar style of rugby to us. They like to throw it about and they are a good outfit.

“I think we’ve got the measure of them – we’ve got virtually everyone to pick from this week and we had a great win last week.

“We’re looking forward to it – hopefully we can get a win here and then we’ve got Windermere the week after and a win there should put us into second place.”

Furness need only a single point to be sure of a top-five finish when the league divides next month, though even if they do not collect one, it would require Penrith A to pick up bonus-point wins in each of their remaining three games.

“Mathematically, it is possible for us to miss out, but incredibly unlikely,” said Pritchard.

“But we’re talking about finishing second, which is great. Hawcoat Park have been the in-form team all season and them finishing top is the way we expected it to, so for us to finish second would be good.”

George Kennedy is the one man to miss out for Furness due to work commitments tomorrow, while Sam Dutton (above) returns at scrum half after a holiday and George Smith retains the fly-half berth after impressing at Silloth.

Andries Venter, Pritchard and the returning Adam Pearce will make up the front row, with Els and Will Mallinson in the second row of the pack and Rhys Studt, Scott Hadwin and Andy Brannon in the back row.

Andy Shaw, who performed well at Silloth, is on the bench.

Furness A travel to Penrith thirds for a tough encounter, without captain Mark Hall, who is recovering from corrective surgery on his eyes.

Cam McClure takes over the leadership of the team in his absence, while father and son Graham and Dan Crabtree also feature.

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