CAMERON SETTER will captain Plymouth Albion’s new-look team in their opening pre-season match against Jersey at St Peter on Saturday (5pm).
The 22-year-old is one of only three players in Albion’s starting line-up who were at Brickfields for the whole of last season. The others are Herbie Stupple, who makes his return from injury at number eight, and young prop Dan Pullinger.
Director of rugby Graham Dawe wanted one of last year’s squad to skipper the team in their first warm-up game, but said no decision has been made yet on who will become the club’s new long-term captain.
“We just asked Cameron to do it this weekend,” said Dawe.
“For this game we wanted someone who had been at the club a while and is around all the time. We asked Cameron if he wanted to do it and he was happy to.”
Setter (pictured) is Albion’s only scrum-half available this weekend as Matt Shepherd is on holiday and Jack Maunder is in South Africa with the England Under-18 squad.
Albion are also without experienced Australian back Marc Koteczky and wingers Jon Dawe and Harrison Cully.
In Koteczky’s absence, Albion will have a look at trialist Elliot Bale at fly-half.
Dawe wants to see the 23-year-old former Cambridge and Shelford player in action against Championship side Jersey so that he can make decision on him.
“We are grateful Elliot’s come down this week and he’s trained hard,” said Dawe. “This is now an opportunity for him to express himself.”
Dawe will also have a look at Royal Navy players Jarrad Hayler and Seti Raumakita, who have been training with the club all summer.
Hayler, 20, will start at open-side flanker, while Raumakita, who plays seven for the Navy, will line-up on the wing at Jersey.
Ed Holmes, Nile Dacres, Tom Bedford, Jake Murphy, Robin Wedlake and Ethan Ford will join Hayler, Raumakita and Bale in pulling on Albion shirts for the first time.
On the bench will be trialists George de Mendonca, Ollie Dawe, Ross Crang, Tom Putt and Ben Hawley, along with summer signings Billy Searle, Dean Brooker, Christian Judge, Chris Courtier and Andy Chesters.
Chesters was not expected to feature this weekend after a late start to pre-season due to an heel tendon operation, however, he was added to the squad after Cully dropped out of the travelling party with a back strain.
Albion have only been training just over a month, whereas their Championship opponents Jersey, who finished seventh last season, returned two months ago.
Dawe said: “You could say this game comes a week too early, but it was too good an opportunity to miss.
“We were offered this chance to play Jersey and we were only too happy to take it.
“Hopefully, it will be an enjoyable weekend and it will be a chance for the players to spend a bit of time together and bond.
“The main hope is that we remain relatively injury-free from the experience.
“The result will be what it will be, but it’s always nice to win. Any game you play you have to go in looking to win.”
Albion’s squad will be a lot stronger when Koteczky, Shepherd, Jon Dawe, Jack Maunder and Harrison Cully come back in and if a 22-year-old powerful South African flanker/lock arrives as expected.
Dawe said: “It’s not ideal having players away or injured, but it’s a squad effort rather than just a first XV. No doubt we will be stronger in the long run for involving other players.”
He added: “We have had a relatively hard week’s training, so we have to take that into account as well, but I’m sure Jersey won’t be dissimilar in that regards.”
The Albion boss is hoping that his team’s set piece will stand up to the pressure Jersey will put it under. The Channel Island side are renowned for their scrumming and line-out plays.
Albion will play three more pre-season matches after this weekend. They will face Weston-super-Mare and Bedford Blues in a double-header at home on August 22 and then welcome Newton Abbot to Brickfields six days later.
ALBION STARTING XV TO FACE JERSEY
15 Ethan Ford
14 Seti Raumakita
13 Jake Murphy
12 Tom Bedford
11 Robin Wedlake
10 Elliot Bale
9 Cameron Setter (capt)
1 Rupert Freestone
2 James Penman
3 Dan Pullinger
4 Dan Collier
5 Ed Holmes
6 Nile Dacres
7 Jarrad Hayler
8 Herbie Stupple
Replacements: Billy Searle, Tom Putt, George de Mendonca, Ross Crang, Dean Brooker, Ollie Dawe, Christian Judge, Chris Courtier, Ben Hawley, Andy Chesters.