Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Shepherd hopes Albion can bounce back from narrow defeat


Matt ShepherdMATT SHEPHERD says Plymouth Albion have a big week ahead of them after their one-point home defeat to Rosslyn Park.

Albion lost 16-15 to last season’s runners-up at Brickfields on Saturday, with Shepherd nearly helping them to a memorable comeback having been 13-0 down.

The former Launceston player came on at half-time and scored a try to get his team back into the game. Despite Albion adding another try courtesy of captain Jake Murphy they just could not snatch the victory.

They now face a long trip to Hull Ionians this coming Saturday in what will be their first away game in National One.

“This week will be a big week,” said Shepherd. “We just have to go to Hull and try and get that ‘W’.”

“We just need to look at the video and assess where we can do better next week.”

Shepherd admitted all the Albion players were frustrated they were unable to get a win against Rosslyn Park.

“We were a bit disappointing with the result,” he said. “It was just a few little mistakes.

“But as a whole we can look at the positives, although there’s some negatives there that we need to work on in training.

“It was just a few little penalties here and there that did not go our way and maybe should have gone our way.

“But I think there is a little bit of confidence there. The boys played well, but we just have to take the negatives and turn them into positives to make us a better all-round team.”

He added: “Our defence was outstanding again. It is just a few errors we need to work on.

“It is just little margins. Our defence was brilliant but there were a few things that maybe when we were attacking and putting them on the back foot we’d drop the ball or we’d get turned over and then we’d be on the back foot.”

One of the key moments in Albion’s defeat was the fact that they were unable to score when camped on Rosslyn Park’s line for a good five minutes at the end of the first half. Albion did come within inches of scoring on a number of occasions but just could not get the ball down over the whitewash.

“We (Albion’s replacements) were just warming up at that end and we thought we were surely going to score,” said Shepherd, “But all credit to Rosslyn Park their defence was brilliant then. But like Herbie (Stupple) said and Nile (Dacres) touched on it, we just have to make sure we stick it up our jumper and just carry on playing and don’t off-load that ball if we don’t need to.

“But, like I said, we just have to take the positives out of the game because there were positives.

“We just have to step up next week and make sure we do play as well as we can.”

Shepherd said the Albion players felt they could go on and win the game after Murphy pulled them to within one point with a late try.

“The ref said there was two minutes left, but I think he probably only played about 30 seconds,” he said. “But the boys were confident, they thought after Jake scoring that try that we could do it. We were on the attack but the ball just fell loose. But it shows the intent we’ve got. We want to play with the ball no matter what.”

Shepherd, who missed a month of pre-season training due to a holiday he had booked the previous year, was delighted to get 40 minutes and score a try.

“It was nice to get a try and be really part of the squad, rather than the previous week where I only got two minutes.

“It feels like a good family at the moment. The boys aren’t putting too much pressure on the other boys and I think it shows that we do play for each other.”


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