Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Dawe believes there is still more to come from his young Albion side

Graham DaweGRAHAM DAWE believes his young Plymouth Albion side can get even better in 2016.

Albion ended 2015 in style by becoming the first team to beat high-flying Hartpury College on their own soil this season.

That was Plymouth’s fourth straight win in National One and their seventh in nine matches.

Albion, who had three teenagers on the scoresheet on Saturday, will start the second half of the season in sixth spot.

Director of rugby Dawe was delighted with his side’s success in Gloucestershire, but he is hoping there will be even better victories to follow in the second part of the campaign.

“From where we were a few months ago that win was one of the big ones,” said Dawe, who had to completely rebuild Albion in the summer following their relegation from the Championship and the departure of 31 players.

“But I certainly wouldn’t like to think that is where it ends. I think this team has got a bit more to improve on, but we’ll have to see.

“If the team has appetite then me, Simon (Lane), Tristan (Lark) and Lee (Jago) will keep pushing them on.”

On Saturday’s victory, Dawe added:  “It was an enjoyable experience. The guys worked hard for each other.

“They set themselves some goals this week. They wanted to come here with a good frame of mind.

“The game could have gone either way. It was a one score game in the end and they could have won it. If they had we wouldn’t have been the happiest because we played so well.

“When you play well and win, that’s a real bonus.”

Albion certainly got their tactics spot on at Hartpury and the team showed great desire and hunger to get the four points.

“Billy Searle, Ethan Ford and Marc Koteczky are all tactically minded players and understand what they have to do for the forwards,” said Dawe.

“And our defensive shape and desire to get in a position to make tackles was there for virtually 80 minutes.

“I was really pleased with the team’s attitude. When the guys walked on to the pitch they had the desire to do well.

“The balance of the team was good. It’s good to see that hunger there.”

Royal Navy player Seti Raumakita, making only his second start for the club, certainly showed his hunger with a massive tackle in the second half that really got his team-mates fired up.

“Seti has always had appetite,” said Dawe. “I’ve got massive respect for Seti’s commitment to the game. He kept Robin Wedlake out of the side this week. Robin is a super player but we felt Seti’s physicality in the tackle and contact area might give us a bit of an edge at times. Let’s hope we don’t lose him to service rugby again.”

Albion had been without key forwards Ollie Dawe, James Penman and Dan Collier through injury, but Dan Pullinger, Rupert Freestone and Ed Holmes all had big games. Holmes scored his first try for the club in the second half after a good steal on the halfway line by Sam Matavesi.

Matavesi returned to Albion last month and has started the club’s last four matches, all have which they have won.

“Sam’s been at the club six or seven weeks and he’s had a positive impact,” said Dawe. “We are really glad he came back to join us. He’s got the number seven shirt but Jarrad (Hayler) is desperate to get it off him, but at the moment Jarrad’s having to make do with the number six shirt.”

After ending the year so well, Dawe is hoping his team do not lose focus over a week’s Christmas break.

“We have to back this win up,” he said. “We have to have a good Christmas, but hopefully the boys will continue to work hard and try and get rid of some of those injuries that are around the squad as we want people fighting for their shirt on performances, not only in games but training.

“Competition is paramount for a successful squad.”


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