Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Stupple says Plymouth Albion fans have boosted his confidence

IMG_0568ALL the hard work to get back to full fitness proved worth it for Plymouth Albion back-row forward Herbie Stupple on Saturday.

Stupple, who prior to the weekend had only made 10 league starts in three years due to a host of different injuries, scored a second half charge-down try to help Albion claim a 33-20 win over Richmond in their opening National One game.

It led to a chat from all sides of the ground of ‘Herbie, Herbie, Herbie…’.

The club’s fans know the pain the 24-year-old has gone through for the last three years and Stupple says their support has boosted his confidence.

“It’s nice to know I still have those guys behind me,” said Stupple, who missed Albion’s Championship relegation battle last season due to a broken leg.

“That will probably give me even more confidence now for next weekend.

“At the moment I am just trying to build confidence game by game.”

Stupple, who made his debut for Albion on the opening day of the 2011/12 season, admitted hearing the crowd cheer his name was emotional for him and his family.

But he added: “It was, but it was also a little bit embarrassing. I can see the guys coming in on Monday and will probably start chanting at me in the changing room or something!

“But it was good for me and it was emotional for my parents and my fiancée hearing it as well. I think they might have shed a tear.”

Stupple said he did not know much about his try as it all happened so fast.

“I was delighted, but I didn’t know what happened, it was all just a bit of a blur,” he said. “I just ran for the charge down and it came off. The next thing the ball was in my hands and I was over the whitewash.”

The try secured the new-look Albion team, which included three 18-year-olds, the victory over Richmond.

Jake Murphy and Elliot Bale had added first half tries, but Richmond had closed to within a score before Stupple’s try.

However, he was just delighted the team won.

“That’s how we wanted to start the season,” said Stupple. “We wanted to start big and I think we did that.

“We started off a little bit slow. I think we didn’t know what to expect really, but we all got our heads together and got focussed and it came good in the end.”

He added: “You look at Richmond and they finished mid-table last season and we’ve done quite well against them.

“I think next week’s the one we want to do well in (against Rosslyn Park). If we could get a second home win that would be really good for us and we could push on in the season.”

Stupple loved the atmosphere on Saturday, despite a disappointing crowd of just under 1,000.

The powerful forward admitted it felt like there were more in the ground than the attendance given.

“I thought it was quite busy really,” he said. “They were certainly there in voice and really got behind us.

“I think we need to give something back to the fans who have stuck by us through the last couple of seasons. It has been tough and we want to try and give something back to them this season.

“Hopefully, we can give them some exciting rugby.

“As long as they’re behind us, we’ll put in the work.”

The sight of Stupple and fellow powerful forward Dan Collier both looking as fit as they have ever done and lasting a full 80 minutes, delighted a lot of Albion fans.

“We’ve both had our times with injuries and it’s time to give it that last crack and see where we can go,” said Stupple. “But we’re both fit and strong from pre-season. That’s probably helped me, being fit and losing a bit of weight. It has made me a lot more confident in myself.”


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