Sunderland Rugby Union Club ready for Gosforth challenge

Martin Watt tries to halt a Stockton player in their game last weekend.
Martin Watt tries to halt a Stockton player in their game last weekend.
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SUNDERLAND travel to Gosforth at the weekend hoping they can recreate their second half form of recent weeks over a full 80 minutes.

Gosforth were beaten by Ashington last week, which may give Sunderland an idea of how to approach the game if they want to secure a well-overdue victory.

Sunderland’s pack will need to be dominant, so the return of Ryan Buckley from a back injury is timely.

With Alan Ross unavailable, Buckley will be vital in the set piece to provide the supply to the Sunderland backline.

Elsewhere in the pack, the side remains unchanged, with Andy Wordsworth continuuing in the back row while Jake Belfield has shrugged off a knee injury picked up last week’s game to start in the second row.

In the backs Ian Dobson returns from injury and will start at 12, with Greg Littlewood outside him.

Michael Porter, pressed into action last week, is retained at full back and will look to give the side a cutting edge they have missed recently.

The second team name as strong a side as they have named all season to travel to Bishop Auckland.

Matt Goforth makes another guest appearance and alongside the uncompromising Duncan Bain, will ensure the Sunderland backline has a huge physical presence.

Sunderland thirds are awaiting confirmation of a fixture, so all players are asked to meet at the club at 1pm.

Sunderland away to Gosforth, 12.45 meet: Arrowsmith, Harrison, Buckley, Belfield, Elstob, Wordsworth, Watt, Mackie, Matthews, Bains, Abraham, Dobson, Littlewood, Walton, Porter. Reps: Turnbull, Carter, Lewandowski

Sunderlad II away to Bishop Auckland, 1pm meet: Team from: Summers, Bengochea, Geehan, Deighton, Fish, Wilson, Reay, Gaul, Cogden, Brace, Hailey, Heffernan, Bain, Goforth, Jermy, Hinder, Ditchburn.

Sunderland III, game tbc, 1pm meet: Marshall, Wright, Edmundson, Belfield, Collins, Jackson, Watson, Harrison, Richardson, Grainger, Tosi, Simpson, Logan, Gallimore, Swann. Reps: Groark, Wallace, Lawson.