PLYMOUTH Albion have named an unchanged line-up as they look to claim back-to-back league wins for the first time since the 2013/14 season.
Director of rugby Graham Dawe has stuck with the same starting XV that beat Blaydon 38-33 away last weekend for tomorrow’s home game against Cinderford at Brickfields (2pm).
It is the first time this season Albion have not made at least one alteration to their team.
However, there is a change on the bench, where fit-again Robin Wedlake takes the place of teenage scrum-half Jack Maunder.
Last Saturday’s victory in the North East was Albion’s first away league win in 19 months, which was also the last occasion they won two games in a row.
“We have stressed all week about backing up a win with another good performance,” said Dawe.
“And being able to pick the same XV is hopefully going to help, as players become more familiar with each other.”
Dawe, who is still without Jarrad Hayler and Seti Raumakita due to Royal Navy commitments, has not been able to select an unchanged team before mainly due to injuries and unavailabilities.
Tomorrow’s selection does mean a first home start for teenage fly-half Billy Searle, who was a late call-up into Albion’s line-up last weekend after Elliot Bale pulled out with an injury in the warm-up. Searle marked the occasion with two tries at Crow Trees.
“Billy gets the chance of a second start and a first at home,” said Dawe.
“Elliot has not been cleared to play yet, but Billy deserves two games in a row.”
There will also be a first home start for Plymouth-born flanker Cameron Thompson.
“Cameron put in a good performance at Blaydon,” said Dawe. “We have asked him to tweak a few things in his game and hopefully he will do that this week.”
Although Albion won last Saturday, Dawe was not totally happy with this team’s display. He feels there is still plenty for his young new-look side to work on.
“What we’re looking for is to be consistent with our performances,” said Dawe.
“We are still tidying up bits and pieces of our game. We are trying to get a balance with our attacking game and have variations that will keep defences on their toes.
“Having said that, we know we are not going to have the ball all the time and might also be confronted by some tricky playing conditions, so we need to win the territorial battle as well as the possession battle.”
Albion produced their worst performance of the season in their last home match against Esher two weeks ago and Dawe his hoping his team can put on a better display in front of their own fans tomorrow.
“Supporters always remember the last home game and maybe some are wondering whether it would be wise to come this weekend,” said Dawe. “But we do plead with them to come and hopefully we can put together a better performance.
“We do live in hope that we do get a good crowd. It is the World Cup semi-final but we are kicking off early (2pm) to try and combine our match with that.”
Cinderford sit in 15th spot but they have beaten Wharfedale away, which is not easy to do, and they have pushed high-flying Hartpury College and Ampthill close.
Dawe certainly expects a tough test from their visitors, who will include former Albion players Davy McGregor and Jimmy Williams in their squad, as well as Exeter Chiefs loan lock Jerry Sexton.
“Cinderford have had a pretty good record over the years,” said Dawe. “They’ll certainly be a team with heart and desire like all Gloucestershire sides.
“They will pose a huge challenge and we’ll need to be whiter than white with our discipline and work hard defensively.”
ALBION TEAM TO FACE CINDERFORD
15 Tom Putt
14 Tom Bedford
13 Jake Murphy (capt)
12 Marc Koteczky
11 Ethan Ford
10 Billy Searle
9 Cameron Setter
1 Ollie Dawe
2 James Penman
3 Christian Judge
4 Dan Collier
5 Ed Holmes
6 Nile Dacres
7 Cameron Thompson
8 Herbie Stupple
Replacements: Rupert Freestone, Dan Pullinger, Gregory Sebastien, Matt Shepherd, Robin Wedlake