Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Albion face a tough mental challenge at Cinderford, says Dawe


GRAHAM DAWE believes his Plymouth Albion team face another ‘massive mental challenge’ on Saturday when they travel to National One’s bottom side Cinderford (3pm).

In-form Albion, who have only lost once since November 21, had to overcome high expectations last weekend when they faced relegation-threatened Blaydon in horrendous conditions at Brickfields.

Dawe’s young side came through that tricky test, winning 16-5.

The Albion boss is hoping his team can once again handle the tag of being favourites and make it 10 wins out of the last 11 games.

“It’s another massive mental challenge with Cinderford not having too many wins to their name,” said Dawe.

“But they are a proud Gloucestershire side that have had a far bit of success over the years and they’ll be very determined.

“It will be a huge challenge mentally for us.”

Albion, who beat Cinderford 27-15 at Brickfields in October, have got an impressive away record this season. They have won seven of their 10 games on the road this term. Their last away defeat was at Blackheath on November 21.

But Dawe says that record will count for nothing at Dockham Road on Saturday.

“The past has gone,” he said. “It is only about this weekend.

“All we are concentrating on is getting our components of our game right in the first 10 or 15 minutes. If we find ourselves not having it our own way then we know we are in a dog-fight and we’ll be aware of it.

“But all we can do is try and get the components of our game right – our set-piece, our defence, our tackle area, our kick-game. We’ve just got to concentrate on all those elements.

“And we also need to be 100 per cent squeaky clean as far as the penalty count is concerned. We have to take this game very seriously.”

Dan PullingerDawe makes two changes to his starting line-up. Ethan Ford and Dan Pullinger (pictured) come into the team, which started against Blaydon last weekend, with regular starters Tom Bedford and Christian Judge stepping out for this match.

Prop Judge, who is due to play for the England Counties side at the end of this month, has missed training this week due to illness.

Pullinger has trained hard and gets the chance to make his first start since Albion’s win against Hartpury College on December 19.

Hooker James Penman, meanwhile, must wait at least another week for his comeback from a serious calf injury.

This weekend is Albion’s shortest away trip of the year at just 300 miles there and back.


15 Matt Shepherd

14 Ethan Ford

13 Jake Murphy (capt)

12 Marc Koteczky

11 Harrison Cully

10 Billy Searle

9 Cameron Setter

1 Ollie Dawe

2 Rupert Freestone

3 Dan Pullinger

4 Dan Collier

5 Ed Holmes

6 Nile Dacres

7 Sam Matavesi

8 Herbie Stupple

Replacements: Christian Judge, Dean Brooker, Gregory Sebastien, Andy Chesters, Elliot Bale, Tom Bedford

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