Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Plymouth Albion without key duo for long trip to Wharfedale

Ed Holmes

PLYMOUTH Albion will be without key players Ed Holmes and Marc Koteczky for their National One trip to the Yorkshire Dales tomorrow to take on Wharfedale (2pm).

Second-row Holmes, dual-registered from Exeter Chiefs, has started all of Albion’s 12 matches so far this season, but the University of Plymouth student is unavailable this weekend.

Marc KoteczkyAustralian centre Koteczky, meanwhile, has failed to recover from a back spasm. He has only missed one previous match this season.

In their absence, Jarrad Hayler and Robin Wedlake will come into the team for their first starts since September.

Hayler has missed a large part of the season due to Royal Navy commitments. However, he is now back in regular training at Albion and will line up at number six at Wharfeside Avenue, with Nile Dacres moving from that position to fill Holmes’ second-row spot.

Wedlake, meanwhile, will start on the wing, with Tom Bedford switching to inside centre.

Cornwall player Wedlake has not begun a league game since Albion’s trip to Hull in the third match of the season when he damaged his ankle.

Dawe, still without injured top scorer Tom Putt, would have liked Holmes and Koteczky available for Plymouth’s first trip to Wharfedale in 14 years, but he is confident Hayler and Wedlake can impress in North Yorkshire.

“Ed is unavailable for this weekend, so Jarrad will come in at six and Nile Dacres will move to the second-row,” said Dawe.

“It will be good for this particularly fixture to have two scavenging flankers to get over the ball, especially if the conditions are poor.

“We will miss Ed for his ball carrying and scrummaging but it is an opportunity for Nile to show his durability and hopefully have a strong game in the second-row.”

On Koteczky’s absence, Dawe added: “It is frustrating for Marc and the team because that Searle-Koteczky-Murphy link in midfield has been going well.

“But Tom Bedford’s a good player to come in at 12 with Robin taking over on the wing. It’s taken a while for Robin to get his fitness back but he has certainly put his foot to the floor this week in training. Hopefully, he has been learning while watching.”

Albion are able to welcome back fly-half Elliot Bale from injury. He has been named on the bench.

Prop Dan Pullinger also returns to the replacements’ bench in place of flanker Cameron Thompson, who is ruled out with a groin injury picked up in training.

Albion will be playing Wharfedale for the fourth time on Saturday.

The first meeting between the two clubs came in the Tetley’s Bitter Cup during the 2000-01 season when Albion, then a league below Wharfedale, won 21-11 at Beacon Park to set up a meeting with Harlequins.

The only two league meetings came in the 2001-02 season with Albion famously losing their 41-game record winning run at Wharfeside Avenue in December 2001, going down 28-20. However, they made up for that in their final match of that season by winning 45-3 at Beacon Park.


15 Ethan Ford

14 Robin Wedlake

13 Jake Murphy (capt)

12 Tom Bedford

11 Harrison Cully

10 Billy Searle

9 Matt Shepherd

1 Ollie Dawe

2 James Penman

3 Christian Judge

4 Dan Collier

5 Nile Dacres

6 Jarrad Hayler

7 Sam Matavesi

8 Herbie Stupple

Reps: Rupert Freestone, Dan Pullinger, Gregory Sebastien, Cameron Setter, Elliot Bale.

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