Injury worries for Manning Ratz

Packing down: Manning Ratz and Gloucester forwards face off in a scrum in the opening round clash at Taree. The sides meet at Gloucester on Saturday.
Packing down: Manning Ratz and Gloucester forwards face off in a scrum in the opening round clash at Taree. The sides meet at Gloucester on Saturday.

MANNING Ratz winger Matt Nonnan is out for the remainder of the Lower North Coast Rugby Union season while his brother, Chris, will miss the next eight weeks.

Matt has succumbed to a shoulder injury that will require surgery while Chris, a front rower, is battling an ankle complaint. Chris was added to the Ratz leadership this year.

The Ratz have a few injury concerns going into tomorrow’s clash with Gloucester at Gloucester.

Apart from the Noonans’ woes, number eight Sam Hartnett is likely to miss the match with a broken finger while fullback Reece Holden is yet to recover from a shoulder injury.

On the plus side breakways Chris Fitzsimons and Joel Segano return from injury.

“We’re still going to have a strong pack and that’s important against Gloucester,’’ Ratz coach Danial Stone said.

Gloucester’s forwards led by Chris Marchment, overwhelmed the Ratz in the opening round and Stone later described the Cockies as the competition’s benchmark. However, Gloucester has failed to live up to that rating.

“They haven’t fielded the same side since,’’ Stone said.

“I don’t know what’s going on over there. But they’re always tough at Gloucester.’’

This will mark the start of the second round. With Old Bar unlikely to feature in the semi-finals the top four appears settled – although the teams are still jostling for places.

Stone not keen to face Cockies in finals

MANNING Ratz coach Danial Stone admits he doesn’t want to face Gloucester in the Lower North Coast rugby playoffs.

He believes the Cockies will field a team in the semi-finals closer to the one the Ratz faced in the opening game come the semis.

“We want to finish either first or second, so we have to start to make up ground on the teams in front of us,’’ he said.

The Ratz meet Gloucester at Gloucester tomorrow.