Plymouth Albion / Rugby

De Mendonca and Raumakita make Plymouth Albion’s squad to travel to Jersey

seti

IVYBRIDGE winger George de Mendonca and former Devonport Services and Plymouth Argaum forward Seti Raumakita have been named in Albion’s squad to travel to Jersey this weekend for their opening pre-season match.

They will be joined on the plane by fellow trialists Elliot Bale, Ross Crang, Jarrad Hayler, Ben Hawley and Tom Putt.

All seven have been training with Albion this summer but have yet to sign contracts with the National One club.

Albion will be without backs Marc Koteczky, Jon Dawe, Matt Shepherd and Jack Maunder for the trip to the Channel Islands.

Koteczky and Dawe are injured, Shepherd is away on holiday, while dual-registered scrum-half Maunder is on a rugby tour in South Africa.

Flanker Andy Chesters, a summer signing from Launceston, is also not included after only recently returning to training following a tendon operation on his heel.

The absence of these players opens the door for winger de Mendonca, fly-half hopefuls Bale and Putt and back-row forward Raumakita (pictured top), Hayler and Hawley.

“We are taking a squad of 24 players,” said Dawe. “The majority we are taking are the ones who have been training hard for the past four or five weeks.

“They have the first opportunity to lay down a marker.”

Dawe, whose team will play three more pre-season games, added: “It would be nice to take a lot of people but because it is an away game we have to put a limit on it and I think 24 players is the right amount.”

George4De Mendonca (pictured) is the surprise name in the squad, but Dawe says the 20-year-old deserves a chance to prove himself.

“George is an exciting talent,” said the Albion boss. “He backs himself, but it is just whether he can perform at this level so early on in his career.

“But he wants to give it a crack, which is why he has turned up training in July.

“I certainly don’t think this season is too quick for him, but he will be the first to admit that he has got to learn certain aspects of the game to make him a more rounded level three player.”

Royal Navy players Raumakita, 27, and Hayler, 20, also get a chance to prove themselves.

“They are both challenging for the number seven shirt,” said Dawe. “But Seti also has the ability to move anywhere in the backs. He’s a Fijian and naturally talented. I’ve never seen him play a game at this level, but he has certainly shown up well in training.”

Of the 24 named to travel to Jersey, only Rupert Freestone, James Penman, Dan Pullinger, Dan Collier, Herbie Stupple and Cameron Setter have pulled on an Albion shirt before in a competitive game.

Dawe, who is likely to bring in at least two more back five forwards, knows with so many new players this season it might take a bit of time to settle, but he hopes his new-look team can do the basics right this weekend.

“We might be a bit behind on organisation with us having to establish so many new systems, but the most important thing this weekend is our set-piece game. Hopefully, that will stand up to scrutiny and we also have a good work ethic in defence.”

Those players not involved this Saturday against Championship side Jersey will feature on August 22 when Albion play two matches in the same day against Bedford Blues and Weston-super-Mare at home.

Plymouth will also play Newton Abbot on August 28 at Brickfields.

SQUAD TO TRAVEL TO JERSEY

Forwards: Ross Crang, Rupert Freestone, Dean Brooker, James Penman, Christian Judge, Dan Pullinger, Dan Collier, Chris Courtier, Nile Dacres, Jarrard Hayler, Ben Hawley, Ed Holmes, Seti Raumakita, Herbie Stupple.

Backs: Cameron Setter, Tom Putt, Elliot Bale, Billy Searle, Tom Bedford, Jake Murphy, George De Mendonca, Harrison Cully, Robin Wedlake, Ethan Ford.

RELATED STORIES

July 15: Ivybridge winger George de Mendonca chasing Albion dream

July 10: Royal Navy players join Albion for pre-season training

July 19: Dawe pleased young players are attracted to Albion

MORE ALBION STORIES HERE

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