Ripon sights set on upsetting Yorkshire Two leaders West Leeds

Rob Nicholson makes a flying tackle against Roundhegians on Saturday (Photo: Dave Naylor)

Rob Nicholson makes a flying tackle against Roundhegians on Saturday (Photo: Dave Naylor)

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In-form Ripon will bid to upset the apple-cart with a visit to the Yorkshire Division Two front runners at the weekend.

The Blues head to table topping West Leeds on Saturday to face a side unbeaten in their opening 12 league matches and on course to reach the top level of county rugby.

However, Blues director of rugby Ian Hassall insisted his young squad would not be fazed by the prospect, one week after taking second-placed Roundhegians all the way in a 17-10 defeat at Mallorie Park.

Ian Hassall: “I have looked at their last few games and they’ve had a few close scores. They will probably have the same problems with injuries as we do.

“We know it’s going to be a tough game but we will go and give it our best. I think we will compete well.

“In previous years, they have done what a lot of teams want to do and developed young lads to build up a strong squad.

“This could be their year, but it would be nice to upset that and put a spanner in the works on Saturday.”

The narrow defeat to Roundhegians ended a run of three straight victories throughout November for Ripon, which pulled them into the top half of the table for the first time since Hassall took over the coaching reins.

Impressed by their battling qualities, the coach was confident his squad could muster up another strong display on a predictably heavy pitch.

Ripon will be buoyed by the return of Yorkshire academy prospect James McDaniel who will add depth to their back line.

Matt Roberts and Tom Stringer will also return into the first team squad.