Loughborough ties to decide top spots says Barnes

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With tonight’s opponents, Loughborough, still to play twice in Hartpury’s remaining three BUCS Super Rugby fixtures, Director of Rugby John Barnes is expecting the two ties to decide who finishes in the league’s top two spots.

Hartpury travel away to their championship rivals this evening for a top-of-the-table clash (7pm kick-off) with Loughborough returning to Hartpury in two weeks’ time as the season comes to a close. Hartpury currently top the Super Rugby table with Loughborough five points behind in second and Exeter a further five adrift in third.

“I would expect Exeter to win all their remaining games, so it’s really between us and Loughborough as to who finishes in the top two alongside them. It will be a very tough game but we’re hopeful of putting in a performance and coming back to finish the season with two home games as we look to keep ourselves in the top two spots.”

“We know Loughborough are a very good side with a lot of skill and some top players who will look to test us, especially on their rubber crumb surface. Along with Exeter away, this will be one of our toughest games this season.”

Last week Hartpury managed to hold on to beat Bath after an indifferent game saw them race away in the first half before being pegged back in the second.

“Bath are a good side and the boys played well in the first half but a little bit of indiscipline crept in in the second half and we were maybe lucky to hang on to the win in the end. If we can play the way we did in the first half for a longer period of time then we will be very tough to beat.”

Hartpury will again be without Morgan Morris – who is away with Wales Under-20s – and Harry Wilson misses out with a knee injury.

“We’ve got a couple of injuries but the boys have performed very well as a squad this season and we’re still looking strong and have a good group to pick from.”

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