GRAHAM DAWE has been encouraged by the number of youngsters who want to play for Plymouth Albion.
The club’s director of rugby has been inundated with talented lower league players, students and navy stars wanting to train with the squad over the summer in the hope of one day getting the chance to pull on a Plymouth shirt.
George de Mendonca, Jordan Shakespeare, Ben Hawley, Luke Mingo (pictured top), Matt Hanford, Ross Crang, Tom Williams, Danny Goldstone, Curtis Reynolds, Chris Farrell, Tom Putt, Ben Stean, Jim Massey, Tom Brown, Mark Grubb, Jack Rouse, Ollie Dawe, Seti Raumakita and Jarrard Hayler are among those who have been trying to impress Dawe in pre-season.
“There is a lot of history at this club and there is a huge identity in that Plymouth shirt,” said Dawe.
“I think Albion is still perceived as a big club in the South West and guys want an opportunity to step up and try and make their way up the ladder in the game.
“We have got a mix of talent training with us, but they all really want to get a foot in a professional environment and be the best they possibly can.”
One of those youngsters, Newton Abbot back-row forward Mingo says it would be a dream come true for him if he could win at contract at Albion, especially as he is about to move to Plymouth to study at the University of St Mark and St John.
“I’m kind of training full-time during pre-season to see if I can get a contract,” said the 20-year-old.
“It’s been good fun so far.
“I’m trying as hard as I can to see if I can impress Graham.
“I am going to as many sessions as I can and hopefully, fingers crossed, it will work out.
“But if nothing happens at least I’ve had a good pre-season and I will be in good shape. I’ll be playing with Newton if not. It’s a win-win for me.”
Mingo, who can also play in the second-row, has been at Bicton College for the past four years.
“I did a BTEC for two years and a HND, which I’m just finishing off. The college is linked with the Chiefs Academy so it’s got a good set-up.
“I’m going to go to Marjons next year. I will be moving down to Plymouth, so if I can get in here it would be ideal. It would fit in well with my studies, so it would be perfect.”
Mingo, who was part of Exeter Chiefs’ under-18 academy, has also played for Exmouth and Withycombe.
In addition to the players training all summer, Albion have also had a number of trialists at the club like French forward Gregory Sebastien, former Cambridge and Shelford fly-half Elliot Bale and Dan Collier, who eventually re-signed for the Plymouth last week.