Rugby - promotion a tall order now for wounded Lions

Darren Fox, pictured after his sending-off on Saturday, has escaped a ban.
Darren Fox, pictured after his sending-off on Saturday, has escaped a ban.
  • Fox escapes ban after sending off
  • Key players missing for Bournville trip
  • Schoeman still suspended

The mood in the Peterborough Lions camp has changed following a crushing defeat last weekend by South Leicester.

The runaway National League Division Three leaders were too good for the city side and cruised to a 31-3 win at Bretton Park on Saturday.

Gedis Marcisauskas is caught by a South Leicester player. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Gedis Marcisauskas is caught by a South Leicester player. Picture: Mick Sutterby

And that has prompted ambitious Lions chairman Andy Moore to admit for the first time this season that maybe his squad isn’t quite ready for promotion.

They’re still third in the table but they now trail second-placed Hinckley by six points with five games to go. And their final game is away to Hinckley on April 18.

“Of course we’re still going for promotion but it really does look as though we’ve got to win the rest of our games to be in with a shout of second place and a promotion play-off. And with our current injury crisis that is a very tall order,” admitted Moore.

“We’ve been absolutely ravaged by injuries in recent weeks and it’s cost us. We’re bringing on the reserves for the reserves and even they’re getting hit. You really do need one heck of a strong squad at this level.

It won’t be the end of the world if we don’t go up

Andy Moore

“But it won’t be the end of the world if we don’t go up. We’ve had a fantastic first season at National League level and whatever happens between now and the end of the season we can hold our heads up high.”

The Lions faced South Leicester with several key players absent. Wade Schoeman was suspended, John Harlock was unavailable and Reggie Reid, Tom Laws, Duncan Low and Matt Dunn were all injured.

And it’s likely to be a similar story this weekend when the Lions visit Bournville - a side they beat 43-7 at Bretton in November.

Lions influential player/coach Darren Fox, who was shown the red card against South Leicester when receiving a second yellow in the last minute, will be available.

The club decided to take no further action and an RFU disciplinary hearing held last night (March 4) also decided that the sending off was sufficient punishment.

Moore added: “His first yellow was for a technicality and his second was for his involvment in a melee at the end that involved both packs. And he was trying to break it up.

“We felt it was unfair to single Darren out and as a club decided to take no further action.

“And after hearing all the facts and reading the referee’s report the RFU similarly felt a ban wasn’t necessary.

“And that’s great news for us. We were getting so low on players we were thinking about asking the milkman to play.”