SWINDON v LIONS, PREVIEW

Sunday July 22, 2018
LEICESTER’S new-look line-up faces its first test in Monday’s televised trip to reigning Premiership champions Swindon (7.30pm).

The Watling JCB Lions rang the changes following last week’s disappointing home defeat to King’s Lynn, and they will have four new faces in their ranks at the Abbey Stadium.

In fact, skipper Hans Andersen is the only rider remaining from their previous trip to Wiltshire, which summed up their injury-plagued campaign as Martin Vaculik crashed out in the aborted attempt to run Heat 1 back in April.

Swindon’s title defence started well with away wins at both Leicester and Poole, but their season has hit the buffers of late, with the Robins not helped by injuries themselves.

Their unbeaten home record was finally ended by Somerset on Thursday, with the Rebels racing to a 49-41 win on a night when the Robins were without second-string David Bellego and key reserve Zach Wajtknecht.

Bellego is back from a scaphoid injury on Monday but Wajtknecht remains on the sidelines with concussion, and Frenchman Dimitri Berge has been booked to guest.

For the Lions, Andersen takes over as No.1 as his average is fractionally higher than the incoming Scott Nicholls, who had a season as a Swindon rider back in 2011.

In the middle-order, Charles Wright is another former Robin, whilst Lions will hope to be far more potent at reserve now that the experienced Stuart Robson has joined the club.

Robson’s Heat 2 partner is Connor Mountain – who won an Individual meeting at Sheffield on Thursday – whilst Josh Auty is the fourth ‘new’ face in the team, although he of course is well known to Lions fans for his previous spells with the club over the last three seasons.

Recent Lions recruit Wright rode for Swindon in 2015-16, and enjoyed success at the weekend by teaming up with Kyle Howarth to win the Championship Pairs for Sheffield.

Wright said: “We’ve got a lot of away fixtures now, so we’re going to have to do something on the road.

“Me and Ricky (Wells) have come in and we seem to be doing our jobs, but we need everyone firing at the same time.
“It’s easier said than done, but I’m sure we’ll come together and we’ll try to pick something up on the road, which we’ll have to do to make the play-offs.”

Lions continue a busy week on the road with a trip to Poole on Wednesday, before hosting the Pirates again at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena on Monday July 30.

SWINDON: Nick Morris, David Bellego, Adam Ellis, Tobiasz Musielak, Troy Batchelor, Dimitri Berge, Jack Smith.

LEICESTER: Hans Andersen, Charles Wright, Josh Auty, Ricky Wells, Scott Nicholls, Connor Mountain, Stuart Robson.



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