Saltash are expecting a tough Boxing Day clash against St Boniface Old Boys

SALTASH RFC are hoping for a big crowd at Moorlands Lane on Boxing Days as they take on their traditional festive opponents St Boniface College Old Boys (kick-off 11am).

The Boxing Day fixture has been going since 1977 and both sides are expected to be strong with plenty of well-known players on show.

Saltash head coach Steve Down said: “With the weather looking dry and sunny, we are expecting a large crowd. We unbeaten at home (this season) and we want to keep that record.”

Saltash, who sit second in Counties Two Cornwall, did win last year’s match 24-17 but St Boniface Old Boys are expected to be stronger this year.

Their squad is set to include a number of Devonport Services players, including Matt Scott, Rhys Williams, Liam Jarvis, Joe Daley, Harrison Reburn and Tyler Busfield, as well as Plymstock players Lewis Paterson and Cameron Goss.

But Saltash also have a few old faces back for the popular contest, including Kristian Davis and Max Venables, who will form a centre partnership.

Saltash forward Lewis Wells said: “Last year the fixture was very different due to covid, however, this year things are back to normal; most players will be available for selection and the clubhouse will be buzzing post-match.

“We came up against a well-drilled St Boniface’s side last year, but we expect it to be even closer this year as I understand they have a stronger squad. I am sure it will come down to the wire.”

St Boniface Old Boys player Jarvis said: “Our team is getting older and older, however, we have a strong squad out, with many lads still playing decent rugby across the local areas. I’m looking forward to getting out there and getting the win.”

Former Premiership referee David Rose will take charge of the fixture. He is one of only five referees to officiate more than 100 Premiership matches.

Saltash: 15 Ollie Crawford, 14 Andrew Walsh, 13 Max Venables, 12 Kristian Davis, 11 Jay Moriarty (c), 10 Billy Dover, 9 Jack Pritchard, 1 Axel Nicks, 2 Rob Walsh, 3 Ryan Simmons,  4 Lewis Woolaway,  5 Devon Bennett-Murray,  6 Chris Carpenter, 7 Phil Eatwell,  8 Jack Wickham. Reps: 16 Mike Grieve,  17 Colm Rich, 18 Jack Thorn, 19 Aidan Marshall, 20 Josh Mortimore, 21 Simon Watson, 22 Adam McEvoy, 23 Devan Marshall, 24 Lewis Wells, 25 Ryan Wilson.

St Boniface Old Boys (from): Rennie, Daley, Digweed, Staniforth, Tunnicliffe, Oldfield, C Goss, Gigg, Scott, Busfield, Jarvis, Akinrowo, C Meakin, C Goss, Reburn, Paterson, Welch, Waryck, Rickard, Williams, Kelly, C Goss, B Daley, Mills, Morris, Dowling, McGinley, S Meakin, Wonnacott, Worrall, Coleman, James, Akinrowo, Bryce, Warren.

Also in action in a traditional Boxing Day fixture will be OPMs and Plymouth Argaum, who will meet at King George V Playing Fields for at 11.30am kick-off.

That match dates back nearly 90 years and past and present players of either club are welcome to take part (11am meet).

The plan is to play a ‘mixed’ quarter, an ‘old boys” quarter and a ‘best available’ half.

Argaum won the match last year but OPMs triumphed the game before that.

Meanwhile, Tavistock will be holding a ‘locals v legends’ match on Boxing Day at Sandy Park (12.30pm kick-off), while Plymstock Albion Oaks will have a President’s XV v a Director of Rugby XV at Horsham Fields (12noon).

Oaks’ match will include current players, former players and vets and will be refereed by club chairman Nigel Higginson.

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