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Riad return is a boost for Dunn
7:00am Friday 15th February 2013 in Rugby
DAVID Dunn is hoping the return of a familiar face – and the emergence of some fresh ones – can hand Lions a much-needed boost.
Director of rugby Dunn bolstered his first-team squad with some new additions when he drafted in different personnel against Worthing on Saturday.
Although they could not prevent Lions from suffering a 43-15 home loss, Dunn was impressed with the performances of the promising triumvirate.
Front-row forward Riad Lynch earned a call-up after returning to full fitness following a painstaking comeback bid from a major knee operation.
The long-serving player made his first appearance since undergoing surgery to repair the ligaments he damaged against Redingensians last March.
He was joined by league debutants Rob Payne, a homegrown full-back, and flanker James Bovett, formerly of Ellingham & Ringwood.
Dunn could put his faith in the trio in the closing months of the National Two South campaign as Lions aim to climb clear of relegation danger.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s home showdown with high-flying Henley Hawks (2.30pm), Dunn told the Daily Echo: “Riad had an operation to reconstruct his knee and has been in a programme of rehabilitation.
“He is going to be playing hooker for us. He will be a part of the squad from now on.
“Front-row forwards are like gold dust and it was good to see him back after such a serious injury.
“Rob Payne was brought in on Saturday morning. He had been playing for our seconds.
“James Bovett came across from Ellingham & Ringwood in the summer. He has taken his time to get into the swing of things and it was great to see him get his debut.
“I thought he had an extremely efficient game. He is naturally a very fit lad and he has got a good engine. I thought he played very well.”
Wing Jaryd Robinson also made his debut against Worthing and he is expected to play a key role against Henley as Lions enter the final 10 games of the season.
In their first campaign in English rugby’s fourth tier, Lions have registered six wins in 18 matches and sit just three points above third-from-bottom Lydney, with the possibility of three teams facing relegation.
Tomorrow’s opponents Henley, meanwhile, are in second spot with 14 wins from 18 games.