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Duo in fight to keep Knights pack places
BOTH Rhys Clarke and Ed Smith have been dropped to the reserves – suggesting Kiwi newcomer Dario Esposito might be in line for his York City Knights debut tomorrow night.
Knights player-boss Chris Thorman has said he will wait until after training tonight to decide whether to throw forward Esposito straight in for the Co-operative Championship visit of Dewsbury tomorrow, a little over 48 hours after he landed from Australia.
But second-rows Clarke and Smith were both given a going-over in York’s defeat at Sheffield last Friday – opposing second-row Michael Knowles and centre Menzie Yere scored five of the Eagles’ eight tries that night – and have been named in the reserves line-up for tonight’s match at Oldham (8pm).
Esposito, an Italian New Zealander who has been playing Queensland Cup rugby for Souths Logan Magpies, would be a natural replacement.
Meanwhile, the Knights will have three debutants in tonight’s reserves team.
Prop Tim Stubbs, who has caught the eye for York College, the Knights Under-18s and York Acorn ARLC U18s, has been named as one of the substitutes, along with Alex Walker, a York St John University winger, and Andy Fraser, a prop from Harrogate RUFC, who has represented Scotland at youth level rugby union and turned out for the Knights academy as a teenager three years ago.
First-teamer Tom Bush is also set to start tonight’s second-string game at Whitebank at his preferred full-back position. He has played most of this season on the wing but lost his place after Waine Pryce returned from injury two games ago.
Bush, Clarke and Smith, along with Adam Howard, Jack Stearman and Dave Sutton, all of whom are set to start tonight, are apparently still in the frame for the first team tomorrow night.
Selby Warriors amateur Wayne Fennell is set to continue at half-back after his debut for York’s reserves in the home loss to Oldham two weeks ago.
Knights reserves: Bush, Law, Poutney, Craig, Hannigan, Fennell, Carmody, Howard, Brining, Stearman, Smith, Clarke, Sutton. Subs: Thorpe, Walker, Fraser, Stubbs.
• The combined Cumbria team won the 2012 Rugby League 9s tournament after beating Featherstone Rovers 16-10 in an all-Championship final at Headingley.
A last-minute try from captain Brett Carter won the trophy in front of a 1,461-strong crowd. The winning side, recruited from Barrow, Whitehaven and Workington squads, beat Leeds and Wakefield along the way, and also produced the player of the tournament in centre Carl Sice.
Their success came 48 hours after a close-fought Championship One derby between Town and Haven at Derwent Park.
In the Plate final, Wakefield beat Warrington 28-6, while a photo finish was needed to decide Rugby League’s fastest man as Leeds’ Jamel Chisolm and London Broncos’ Omari Caro finished neck and neck. Caro took the title and the £1,000 prize money.