Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Searle keen to take his chance in Plymouth Albion’s number 10 shirt

searle1BILLY SEARLE is hoping he can take his chance to shine in Plymouth Albion’s number 10 shirt on Saturday when the National One club entertain Championship side Bedford Blues (5pm).

The 19-year-old, who moved to Brickfields this summer after a season with Launceston, wants to be Albion’s first choice fly-half.

Trialist Elliot Bale pushed his claims against Jersey two weeks ago, while experienced Australian Marc Koteczky, who has been injured, and Tom Putt also have their eyes on the prized playmaker’s shirt.

“I am looking forward to Saturday and getting my first start,” said Searle. “We’ll see how that goes, but, hopefully, I can do a good job and cement my place.

“This season my main goal is just to cement my place in the starting team and have a good season.

“Although I can play full-back, I want to be a 10 really so, hopefully, I can fill that position. I think I have a good chance. I think I have more of a chance at 10 than 15.”

He may only be 19 years-old, but Searle does not lack confidence.

The Cornwall player, who kicked a valuable penalty in the County Championship final at Twickenham, certainly feels he can handle the pressure the role of fly-half at Albion brings.

“There is a lot of pressure (playing 10), but that’s what I like and what I’ve done all my life,” he said.

“I’m used to that pressure and that’s what makes me play better, I think.”

Searle is also keen on the kicking role at Albion, although there are a number of candidates for that job as well.

“I want to be kicking and I will be kicking on Saturday,” he said. “It has always been one of the main parts of my game. It’s what I like to do, so, hopefully, I get the chance to do that as well.”

Searle has been enjoying life at Albion since his summer move, which he believes was the right step at the right time of his career.

“The training has been tough – harder than anything I’ve done before – but it’s good,” he said.

“It’s a step up for me and it’s what I needed. I’m really enjoying it.”

He added: “I played for Cornwall which was a good standard. We were playing against players from National One sides like Fylde and I thought I handled it quite well.”

Searle is halfway through a foundation degree in coaching and fitness at Exeter College.

Initially he was looking to see if he could transfer his course to Plymouth, but now he says it is likely he will finish it at Exeter, where he is still living.

“My course is only two days a week and I just have one more year, so I might finish it there and then look to go to Marjons the year after, but I’ve not decided on anything yet,” said Searle.

Meanwhile, Bedford have confirmed they will field two different sides in each half against Albion, having brought a squad of 29 players down to Plymouth for a four-day training camp.

Only centre Ollie Dodge is named in both teams. There is no place for former Albion backs James Pritchard, who has surprisingly been left out of Canada’s World Cup squad, and Elliot Clements-Hill, who is on trial at Goldington Road.

However, former Plymouth schoolboy James Currie will start the first half for the Blues, alongside Exeter Chiefs old boys Myles Dorrian and Joel Conlon.

Bedford are training at the University of St Mark and St John, which will be used during the World Cup.

Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer said: “We head down to Devon to face Plymouth in a game which will form part of a training camp as we ramp up our preparations ahead of the season opener.

“We are in for a tough few days but I’m sure that Graham Dawe will give us a particularly warm welcome when we arrive at Brickfields.”



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