Rob Baldwin loses captaincy but keeps place in England Counties XV

Craven Herald: Rob Baldwin won't be wearing the armband tomorrow night against an Ireland Clubs XV Rob Baldwin won't be wearing the armband tomorrow night against an Ireland Clubs XV

Wharfedale’s Rob Baldwin has won his place back in the England Counties XV.

However, the No 8 has lost the captaincy for the match against an Ireland Clubs XV at Darlington Mowden Park’s Northern Echo Arena tomorrow (7.30pm).

Baldwin returns to the squad having missed the narrow defeat by France Federale in Nevers three weeks ago through suspension after he accumulated three yellow cards for foul play this season.

The popular Greens back-rower has now completed his one-week suspension but Fylde fly half Chris Johnson, who replaced him as captain in France, will lead the side again at Darlington.

Former Huddersfield playmaker Johnson had his first taste of captaining England Counties on their tour to Belgium last summer, and he stepped into the breach when Baldwin was banned.

Johnson confessed: “It was a bit of a surprise when I got the captaincy because Rob was the original captain and they asked me at the last minute when he was suspended.

“I captained the side in the first match of the Belgium tour last year, which was a great experience, and leading the team for the first time in an international in France was a great honour.

“Leading the side out at Darlington will be a proud moment for me. I will have a few friends and a few family members to support me.”

Wharfedale have no game this weekend.

They were due to host Cleckheaton in the Yorkshire Cup quarter-finals but the visitors will instead be playing a re-arranged top-of-the-table SSE North One East match at home to Huddersfield YMCA, which was postponed last Saturday.

“The cup tie has now been pencilled in for Saturday, March 15,” said Wharfedale’s rugby chairman Michael Harrison.

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