Plymouth Albion / Rugby

TEAM NEWS: Setter returns to Albion’s starting line-up for Coventry game

Cameron Setter

CAMERON SETTER will make his first Plymouth Albion start since November on Saturday when Coventry visit Brickfields in National One (3pm).

The 22-year-old Plymouth-born scrum-half is rewarded with a recall after impressing as a replacement last weekend against Fylde as Albion came back from 26-10 down to win 38-26.

Setter started nine of Albion’s opening 11 league games, but lost his place after the club’s 34-3 defeat at Blackheath on November 21.

Cornwall scrum-half Matt Shepherd has started Albion’s last seven matches at scrum-half, six of which Plymouth have won, but this weekend he switches to the wing, where he finished the game at Fylde.

Teenage winger Harrison Cully, who has been away at an England training camp this week, drops out of the squad, while forwards Ed Holmes and Jarrad Hayler are added to the bench after missing last Saturday’s trip to Lancashire.

Matt ShepherdShepherd (pictured) will continue with the goalkicking duties after kicking four out of four conversions in the second half at Fylde.

Billy Searle and Ethan Ford have recovered from knocks they picked up last week.

On the change at scrum-half director of rugby Graham Dawe said: “Cameron’s certainly been impressing whenever he’s come off the bench since the Wharfedale game. Performance-wise he has been doing what we’ve asked him to do.

“It is very competitive for the number nine shirt but he deserves a chance to start this game. Matt Shepherd moves back to the wing, where he is comfortable, and he’ll continue with the goalkicking from last week.”

When asked if he was tempted to make more changes, Dawe said: “We looked at the balance of the side and you always have to have reasons to make changes. People have to earn their spot.

“Cameron has been very consistent and has earned his chance again.

“Elliot Bale is pushing Billy Searle really hard having spent a lot of time out of the squad with injury and that’s certainly putting pressure on the back line.”

That pressure is going to increase more after fellow young back Tom Putt returned to full training on Thursday night after more than two months out with injury.

Albion will be looking for their first home win of 2016 on Saturday.

They lost 17-7 to Hull Ionians in their last game at Brickfields, which is their only defeat since the Blackheath game in November.

“There is always pressure playing at home,” said Dawe. “But, hopefully, this could be the weekend when the team expresses themselves all the way through the game.

“However, Coventry will offer us a tough challenge.

“They have switched around their coaching structure since the last time we played them and they have gone back to basics and seem to be more confrontational, which is what Coventry teams of old were like. But, as we saw up at their place, they have some silky backs who can really play.”

Coventry will be making their eighth trip to Brickfields but their first since 2010. However, it has not been a happy hunting ground for them with just one win from seven at the Devonport venue.

But the Midlands club, who finished third in National One last season, beat Albion 26-19 earlier in the season with a last-gasp controversial try.

In that game at Butts Park, Albion found themselves 13-0 down early on. Plymouth have been guilty of starting slowly in a number of games this term, including last week at Fylde.

Dawe hopes his team will have learnt from last Saturday’s match, where they conceded 26 points in the first half.

“Hopefully, the team have learnt some lessons,” he said.

“We are certainly focused on beginning the game well, on our set piece and playing smart when we’ve got the ball.”

After Saturday’s league match between Albion and Coventry, Ivybridge Community College will play Royal Belfast Academicals Institution in a schools match (5pm).


15 Ethan Ford

14 Tom Bedford

13 Jake Murphy (capt)

12 Marc Koteczky

11 Matt Shepherd

10 Billy Searle

9 Cameron Setter

1 Ollie Dawe

2 Rupert Freestone

3 Christian Judge

4 Dan Collier

5 Nile Dacres

6 Gregory Sebastien

7 Sam Matavesi

8 Herbie Stupple

Replacements: Dan Pullinger, Ed Holmes, Jarrad Hayler, Seti Raumakita, Elliot Bale.

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