RUGBY ROUND-UP: Elliot Daly, the former Whitgift School pupil, will make his first start for England at Twickenham on Saturday in the autumn international against South Africa.
Daly, the Wasps centre, has been included in head coach Eddie Jones’s side alongside his old Whitgift School mate, wing Marland Yarde.
Yarde, who plays for Harlequins, and Daly twice won the Daily Mail Cup when boys at the South Croydon independent school.
They are joined in the matchday squad by another south Londoner, reserve prop Kyle Sinkler, who went to Graveney School in Tooting and at one point was considering the offer of a sixth form scholarship to Whitgift for a powerful under-18s side which as well as Daly and Yarde also included Lawrence Okoye, who went on to throw the discus for Britain at the London Olympics and who has spent three years as a professional American football player.
With outside-centre Jonathan Joseph carrying a slight groin injury, 24-year-old Daly will make his sixth England international appearance, having come off the bench to earn his previous caps this year.
“We’ve picked a matchday 23 with a blend of experience and youth,” was the way Jones chose to describe his much-changed team, following a spate of injuries to key players.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to show how much depth we have in English rugby. With a few influential players not available for selection this is a great opportunity for some of the new faces to put both feet forward and we’re backing them to do the job for us.”
Daly will line-up at outside centre, linking with England’s twin playmakers, Owen Farrell and fly-half George Ford. Known as a pacy line-breaker, Daly is also an option for long-range penalty kick attempts with his powerful left foot.
Warlingham staring at relegation already
On the local club scene, the senior club, Warlingham, are having a torrid time in London 2SW, having lost seven games and failed to turn up for one (earning themselves a 5pt league penalty), and conceding 417 points along the way.
Their latest was Saturday’s 15-try drubbing in the 91-7 defeat at Camberley. With 14 games of the season to go, and already lagging well behind their closest rivals in the division, the Hamsey Green club looks destined for a long winter slog towards its first relegation in more than a decade.
Warlingham’s first XV has been hit by a string of injuries, and a lot of defections of players in key positions. “We’ve had five players recruited by higher division clubs such as Blackheath, Westcombe Park and Dorking, and we have at least five players sidelined with long term injuries,” Peter Upton, the club president, told Inside Croydon.
“Added to this our captain last season, and another first team regular, are unable to play because of work commitments on Saturday afternoons.
“As a result our second XV have had to step up and fill big boots. They’re putting in 100 per cent effort but the London 2SW league shows a higher standard every year. It will be a difficult season but we’ll have to learn hard lessons and endeavour to improve game by game. We have excellent facilities with a sound infrastructure and we’re on a vigorous recruitment campaign, so we hope to see new players join us before long.”
Warlingham’s next fixture is at home against Portsmouth on November 19.
TWO DIVISIONS below Warlingham, in Surrey 1, and other local clubs have had mixed fortunes over the past month, with Old Whitgiftians topping the league table despite the 14-31 defeat at home last Saturday to promotion rivals Old Amplefordians.
This division is shaping up to be very competitive throughout the season, and not just because of the derby rivalries between Old Whits, their Old Mid-Whitgiftian counterparts, Chipstead and Purley John Fisher.
Because on their day, it seems, any side can get the better of another.
A week earlier, MidWives had notched up an impressive 48-14 win at Amplefordians. But defeat on Saturday, 57-14 at Old Freemans, and before that an agonisingly close 15-17 loss to Chipstead at Lime Meadow Avenue have knocked back their prospects of getting promoted back into the regional divisions at a first time of asking.
Despite having won three games this term, PJF remain bottom of the table because are still carrying the burden of a league points penalty carried over from their using an ineligible player last season. They have also been inconsistent, losing 12-10 at Old Georgians last Saturday after having enjoyed a 28-15 victory the week before over the Law Society.
The next big derby clash thrown up by this division is on Saturday week at Parsons Pightle in Old Coulsdon, when Purley-John Fisher host league leaders Old Whitgiftians in what is sure to be a keen encounter.
IN SURREY 2, local sides Old Walcountians – with one or two former Warlingham players now in their ranks – are riding high in second place in the table, two slots above a similarly rejuvenated Streatham-Croydon.
Walcountians travelled to their title rivals, Old Blues, last Saturday and lost 30-20, while Streatham-Croydon beat Bec Old Boys 29-26 at their Frant Road ground in Thornton Heath.
And in Surrey 3, Croydon appear to have gone back to their previous losing habit.
The club based on Addington Road, started its 60th anniversary season with two wins – their first XV’s first league victories for more than two seasons. But they’ve since lost their next four games, including 51-19 at Merton last Saturday.
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