Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Plymouth Albion would like a bumper crowd for vital home match

P1010319DIRECTOR of rugby Graham Dawe is hoping city sports fans will turn out in force on Saturday for Plymouth Albion’s vital Championship match against Yorkshire Carnegie at Brickfields (3pm).

It is possible for Albion to move off the bottom of the table this weekend for the first time since the start of the season, if they were to win and Moseley fail to pick up a point away at Nottingham the following day.

With just five matches of the campaign to go, this weekend could be pivotal in the fight to avoid relegation to National One.

And Dawe knows having a passionate crowd inside Brickfields for the match with Yorkshire, who are better known as Leeds, could make all the difference.

“We are hoping a lot of people will turn up,” said the former England international. “It is the final weekend of the Six Nations so that might curtail a few people but I just hope people will want to come and watch some live rugby and then watch the Six Nations on the TV afterwards.”

Albion will be showing England’s match with France in their bar after their league match has finished.

Everyone at Brickfields was impressed with the noise the crowd made in their last home match against Jersey, a game Albion won 18-17, and they would love to create the same sort of atmosphere this Saturday.

“The crowd against Jersey were really willing the team to make tackles every couple of seconds,” said Dawe, who returned to Albion at the start of January. “That was a close run game and I’m sure the noise and support filtered through to the players.

“But just because it happened once does not guarantee it happening again. The players can’t just expect the crowd to turn up and create an atmosphere, they need to be inspired.”

Dawe is hoping the players can produce another inspiring home performance.

Albion are unbeaten at Brickfields in 2015. They have overcome Moseley, Rotherham and Jersey and drawn with London Scottish on their own soil since January 10.

That has helped the team get within four points of Moseley, who they still have to play away.

Carnegie do not have a particularly good record at Brickfields and Albion drew with them at Headingley back in November when Christian Georgio scored a last-gasp try to rescue two points for the home team.

However, since that game sixth-placed Carnegie have gone through two head coaches and this weekend’s match will see former Sale and Gloucester coach Bryan Redpath take charge of the Tykes for the first time.

Dawe does not believe that will make Carnegie any more dangerous than they would have been anyway.

“I don’t think that should play a part,” said Dawe. “All their players are professional and hopefully they try and impress every week.”

Dawe is keen not to put too much pressure on the Albion players this weekend, despite the importance of the fixture.

“There is enough pressure on the team,” he said. “Let’s just look at this game alone. It is just a game of rugby that we want to try and win.”

Albion head coach James Shanahan is away with the England Counties side this week. They play in France on Friday, but Shanahan is hopeful of returning in time for Saturday’s match at Brickfields.

Back-row forward Iain Grieve is likely to be a doubt for the game. He suffered a nasty head injury in Albion’s last outing against Worcester Warriors and is facing a race against time to recover.


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