Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Murphy hoping Plymouth Albion can get off to a winning start

Jake MurphyJAKE MURPHY would love to get off to a winning start as Plymouth Albion’s new captain.

The 27-year-old former Launceston back will lead Albion out in their season-opener against Richmond at Brickfields today (3pm).

Murphy, who joined Albion in June, will be part of a completely new Plymouth team.

Only three members from last season’s squad will start today’s match after the departure of 30 players during summer following the club’s relegation.

“We are trying not to put too much pressure on ourselves, but of course we want to get the win,” said Murphy.

“We want to go out there and try and implement what we have been putting into practice for the last nine or 10 weeks of pre-season.

“The boys are just raring to go to get out on that pitch and play Richmond.”

Albion have been handed a tough start to the National One season. They face six of the top eight sides from last season in the first seven weeks of the season.

After today’s match with Richmond they then welcome last year’s runners-up Rosslyn Park to Brickfields.

“You look at the fixture list and we have got two home games first, which is nice, but against two top National One teams,” said Murphy. “Yet you do want to do well in your home games and take advantage of the great support we are going to have here.

“Then our first away game is at Hull, so that’s a nice bit of travelling for us to do.

“But we are just going to take it week by week. We’ll just set targets for each week and hopefully reach them.”

Murphy is looking forward to experiencing his first league game at Brickfields.

“I have seen a few games in the past here and there’s always great support down here,” he said. “The fans are very faithful, but we need to play a brand of rugby that people want to come and watch.

“I know it was tough last season but I’m sure there will be a big crowd here on Saturday and they will be impressed with what they see.”

Albion’s squad is built around promising West Country youngsters, who have either been released from Exeter’s academy or making the jump from lower league clubs.

Murphy admits most of the squad have points to prove, which he hopes can work in the team’s favour.

“I think that is always a good thing,” said Murphy. “And it has been managed well here. There’s not a massive amount of pressure being piled on us from the outset, like say saying you’ve got to do this and you have to step up.

“But there is that incentive that you want to prove yourself and show you can play at the best level possible.”

Murphy has certainly enjoyed his first summer at Albion and he hopes the happy faces around the club will continue into the season.

“It has been really good,” he said. “It’s been a tough nine or 10 weeks, but it’s surprising how hour after hour of fitness actually bonds the boys together. We were all helping each other get through.

“Graham (Dawe, directory of rugby) has done really well. He has put together a squad of more-or-less all new players but we have bonded really well. There is a good feel in the changing room. There’s a willingness to work for each other and lots of smiles and laughs, which is good.”

Albion’s squad is expected to be added to in the coming weeks. French forward Gregory Sebastien is set to arrive after having a trial at Brickfields at the start of the summer, while Exeter-based New Zealand back Mounga Molisi, who featured against Bedford in pre-season, could sign if he gets clearance.


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