With five players on the treatment table, Diss RFC will unleash their hungry young guns at one of London One North’s strongest sides tomorrow.
And head coach Phil Sharpe has revealed his excitement at the potential of the youth talent coming through already meant he was considering blooding them.
But a flood of injuries; Chris Craven (broken arm), Will Farrer (concussion), Jamie Burroughs (shoulder), Warren Wilby (wrist) and Charlie Crotty (broken leg), will accelerate their passage into the first team, with a number being considered for a senior debut at third-placed Letchworth Garden City (2.15pm).
“We cannot do anything about the injuries now,” said Sharpe, after all but Crotty’s occurred during Saturday’s narrow 18-14 home defeat to high-flying Colchester.
“I was maybe looking to give the younger players some experience in the cup matches and teams further down the league, but our hand has been forced now and that is no bad thing.”
Backs specialist Charlie Pask, 17, who goes to Culford School, near Bury St Edmunds, is one of the crop of highly-rated young players, along with recently-turned 17-year-old Joe Brock, who is the son of Sharpe’s predecessor Gavin Brock.
“He has a lot of potential,” Sharpe said of the latter, who plays second row. “He has a lot of balance and we like him a lot.”
The Blues’ coach felt his side were worth more than defeat at Mackenders on Saturday, but laid the blame for that firmly at some ‘unbelievable’ decisions from the referee.
“It was frustrating for me, the guys and the supporters,” he said. “There were 30 guys out there who wanted to play rugby and it was difficult to.
“I firmly believe not only could we have won it, but won it comfortably and that was taken away from us.”
A quickly-taken Diss penalty being called back to explain to Colchester why it was conceded was just one example Sharpe cited.
Of tomorrow’s opponents, who won 49-10 at Rochford Hundred on Saturday, he said: “They are a very competent side, a very strong side at home and we are under no illusions that it will be a tough job.”
Diss, who have lost their last two games, currently sit seventh in London One North, six points behind Luton in sixth.