Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Stupple honoured to be asked to captain Plymouth Albion

Herbie StuppleHERBIE STUPPLE said he was honoured to be asked to captain Plymouth Albion last week against Loughborough Students.

Stupple may be the club’s longest-serving player, having initially joined Albion on a dual-registered agreement in 2011, but he had never skippered the team before.

“I enjoyed it and if I get asked to do it again then I would do it no problem,” said Stupple.

“It was very nice, but, on the other hand, at one point it was also very frustrating as well when we had two or three tries scored against us in about the space of 10 minutes. There was a bit of a panic then, but we managed to do quite well in the end and get that all-important win and five points.”

He added: “Being vice-captain I talk to (regular skipper) Jake (Murphy) quite a lot and help him with decisions. I also had Nile Dacres and Tom Bedford there as well to help me on the day.”

Stupple is likely to be handed the captain’s role again this weekend against Hartpury College as Murphy looks unlikely to be fit due to the ankle injury that kept him out of last week’s game with Loughborough.

If Stupple does continue as captain and number eight then he will almost certainly be in direct competition with former Albion player-coach Rhys Oakley, who has been skippering Hartpury from that same position.

Oakley, 35, spent two seasons at Plymouth but his career ended on a low by breaking his leg away at Moseley the day Albion were relegated from the Championship.

Rhys Oakley“It will be nice to see Rhys again,” said Stupple. “It is good to see him back on his feet after that bad injury. It’s good that he’s back playing.

“It will be nice to be against our old captain and ex-player/coach.”

Hartpury, with an experienced pack led by former Wales international Oakley, sit second in the National One table, just one point behind leaders Richmond, who they beat last week.

Hartpury have only lost three matches this season, but Stupple is hoping Albion can cause a bit of an upset this weekend.

“I think this is probably going to be one of the toughest tests we have had yet,” said Stupple.

“We have seen a few of their games and we have to try and work them out and hopefully we can upset them away.”

He added: “We know it is going to be tough, but we’d like to get something out of it.

“I think we are all going there to try and get a massive win.

“We have got a bit of time off over Christmas so we will be giving it our all and trying to take the game to them.”

Albion have won their last three matches. It is the second time this season they have had a three-game winning run.

“It would be nice to break the curse and get that fourth game in a row,” said Stupple.

“We will put pressure on ourselves to try and make it four out of four.

“The boys are confident in the structures we have in place and feel they are good enough to beat anyone.”

Whatever happens on Saturday, Albion are guaranteed to reach the halfway mark of the season with more wins than defeats. They currently have eight victories to their name and six defeats, of which three were by just one score.

Having seen 31 players depart in the summer and lost out on nearly £500,000 funding from being in the Championship, Stupple feels Albion have done really well to rebuild a new team that is so competitive.

“We are buzzing with how well we are doing as a team,” said Stupple. “No-one expected us to do this well when that many players left.

“And I think we are all buzzing for this game.”

Stupple has scored six tries this season. He added one last week against Loughborough from the back of a stunning scrum by Albion.

The 25-year-old is delighted to see the club have a scrum like they had when he first moved to Brickfields in 2011.

“The first season I came here the scrum was what actually got us through games,” he said. “It is a massive weapon for us again. We know that is in our armoury now as one of our main focus points.”


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