Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Albion boss Dawe names same starting XV for a third game running

Jarrad Hayler

PLYMOUTH Albion will field the same starting XV for the third game running when they head to Henley Hawks in National One on Saturday (3pm).

Director of rugby Graham Dawe has kept faith with the side which has claimed consecutive bonus point victories against Cinderford and Blaydon.

That might seem like an easy decision, but Dawe’s options have greater increased since those two matches with the arrival back from representative duty of Royal Navy players Jarrad Hayler (pictured) and Seti Raumakita and the return from injury of the likes of David Fisher, Andy Chesters and Elliot Bale.

But Dawe admitted it would have been tough to drop anyone after the last two results.

“We’ve settled for continuity and they did put in a good performance against Cinderford,” said the Albion boss.

“No-one likes to take anyone out of the starting team for no reason.”

The only change to the 20-man squad that faced Cinderford two weeks ago is on the bench where Hayler is selected ahead of Robin Wedlake, with Albion opting for four forward replacements instead of three away from home.

Hayler had been a regular starter before going away to play for the Royal Navy at the International Defence Rugby Competition, which lasted a month.

The 20-year-old flanker also missed some training this week as he played a game for the Navy Under-23 side in Bedford.

“We have only seen him this week and it is going to take him a while to get embedded again in Albion life,” said Dawe.

Plymouth are looking to make it three wins in a row, but Dawe expects a tough test from Henley, who have won three and drawn one of their opening eight matches following their promotion from National Two.

The Hawks have beaten Darlington, Wharfedale and Loughborough and earned a draw with high-flying Ampthill.

“Henley are a very efficient team,” said Dawe. “And they have come into the league with momentum.

“They have a very aggressive front five and a number eight who can run like the wind, we’re certainly going to have to be on our toes at set pieces and are going to have to hold our shape in our backline.”

He added: “It doesn’t mean anything just because you’ve won two games in a row. It certainly doesn’t have any bearing on this weekend.

“Winning games of rugby away from home is never an easy task. You are going to come up against lots of obstacles on the way.

“There’s not point trying to focus on the ‘W’. We have to stop talking about that and talk about what we are going to do in our early exchanges, in the contact area, in our set-piece game, what we are going to do in our defensive game and if things don’t go our way how are we going to regroup and try and apply some pressure. That’s what we have to focus on.”

Dry Leas is a ground Albion have played at before. They last visited Henley’s ground in the National Trophy in the 2007/08 season winning 27-3. Albion also won 18-7 in the league in November 2004 and 35-14 in November 2003 – the day England won the World Cup.

Although none of Albion’s current playing squad were involved in those matches, Jake Murphy, Billy Searle, Christian Judge, Ed Holmes and Matt Shepherd did play against Henley last season for Launceston and James Penman for Cambridge in National Two South.

Albion’s starting XV

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, Jarrad Hayler, Matt Shepherd.


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