RUPERT FREESTONE is hoping he can take his chance to impress today when Plymouth Albion travel to high-flying Hartpury College (2.30pm).
Cornwall front-rower Freestone returns to Albion’s starting line-up at hooker in place of James Penman, who picked up a calf injury last weekend against Loughborough Students.
It will be Freestone’s first start for the club since October 10.
“I always welcome starts,” said the 24-year-old.
“I have not been playing that much lately, but through JP’s (James Penman’s) misfortune I get an opportunity.
“Hopefully, I can play well and keep the shirt for as long as possible.”
Freestone started four of Albion’s opening six games, but he has found it hard to get back in with the front-row having been playing well and Plymouth winning six of their last eight matches.
“It is just one of those things,” said Freestone, who is in his second spell at Albion. “I have not had a huge amount of game-time, but when you have someone performing as well as JP has been you have to take it on the chin.
“You have to be long sighted. You can’t just focus on yourself. You have to think about the team.
“When you get a chance to play you want to do the best for the team and if you are not playing you also have to do your best for the team.”
Both second-placed Hartpury and sixth-placed Albion have been in good form over the last couple of months.
“It should be a good game,” said Freestone, who knows a few of the Hartpury players from his time at Bristol and Clifton.
“It will be a tough game. Hartpury are flying high, but I think we are really maturing into quite a strong team now and a strong unit.
“Relationships have really formed now, so now would be the time to take a big scalp.
“It would be nice going into 2016 on the back of four wins.”
Today’s match will mark the halfway point of the season.
Freestone said: “I think everyone is going to be fairly positive about how the first half of the season has gone.
“People have said Plymouth Albion should go straight back up, but at the end of the day we are not the same side as last year. It is an entirely new squad and you have to think about it as a rebuilding process.
“Like I said, I think the team has really matured and given the way some of the performances have gone, it is not a bad position we are in, progressing up the table.”