PLYMOUTH Albion face one of the most crucial games in their recent history on Saturday when they entertain leaders Bristol at Brickfields in the Championships (kick-off 3pm).
A defeat, coupled with a Moseley victory at Bedford, would see the club’s 13-year stay in English rugby’s second tier come to an end.
However, everyone at Brickfields is hoping it will not come to that.
Director of rugby Graham Dawe says the Albion players are totally focused on trying to secure a result against Andy Robinson’s table toppers.
“We can’t worry about other results, we just have to concentrate on what we can do,” said Dawe.
“The players have trained really well the last couple of weeks. Their work-rate and attitude has been outstanding.
“They are really focused on this match and are determined to try and impose themselves on a good Bristol team.”
Following the departure of head coach James Shanahan, James Scaysbrook has stepped up and taken on more of a lead role, while former Bath and Wasps player Ryan Davies has also arrived at the club this week to help out on the coaching side.
Davies has been working with Albion’s backs ahead of Saturday’s match.
Albion have been struggling with injuries in recent weeks, but they are boosted by the return of former Bristol forward Iain Grieve.
Grieve missed the club’s last two league matches after sustaining a head injury against Worcester but he has recovered in time to start on the bench against the club where he spent nearly a decade.
Ex-Ivybridge player Cameron Setter, Australian Marc Koteczky and former Loughborough student Alistair Bone are all handed chances to impress this week.
“This is a big game and we need our experienced players, like Rhys Oakley and Eoghan Grace, to step up to the mark and help the younger players,” added Dawe.
Bristol have included former Albion player Tom Kessell on their bench after he joined them last week. Kessell had played against Plymouth two weeks ago for the Pirates.
Also named on Bristol’s bench is Ellis Genge, who is dual-registered with Albion.
Plymouth officials are hoping for a large crowd and are hoping to create a family atmosphere with a bouncy castle and face painting in a special children’s area. There will also be a half-time tug of war competition and live music after the game.
Plymouth Albion: 15 Jack Arnott, 14 Mark Kohler, 13 Ben Woods, 12 Marc Koteczky, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Declan Cusack (c), 9 Cameron Setter, 1 Tom Fidler, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Andrew Tiedemann, 4 Neale Patrick, 5 Tom Hicks, 6 Rhys Oakley, 7 Eoghan Grace, 8 Alistair Bone. Reps: 16 James Penman, 17 Dan Pullinger, 18 Tom Harrison, 19 Tom Jubb, 20 Iain Grieve, 21 Josh Davies, 22 Lawrence Rayner
Bristol: 15 Jack Wallace; 14 Charlie Amesbury, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Ben Mosses, 11 David Lemi; 10 Matthew Morgan, 9 Dwayne Peel (c); 1 Jack O’Connell, 2 Ross McMillan, 3 Gaston Cortes, 4 Ben Glynn, 5 Ian Evans, 6 Nick Koster, 7 Olly Robinson, 8 Ryan Jones. Reps: 16 James Stephenson, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Ellis Genge, 19 Glen Townson, 20 Tom Kessell, 21 Adrian Jarvis, 22 Jack Tovey.
VIEW MORE ALBION STORIES HERE http://plymouthsportsgazette.com/category/plymouth-albion/