PLYMOUTH Albion have been dealt a blow with news that influential centre Marc Koteczky will not now be available for their crucial clash with Darlington Mowden Park on March 5.
Albion were told the Australian would be free to play after an RFU disciplinary panel agreed to uphold a one-week internal suspension for picking up a record card against Henley Hawks on Saturday.
The RFU informed Plymouth on Tuesday night that Koteczky’s ban would end on February 29.
However, when they issued the date the suspension would end, the panel were unaware that Albion did not have a National One game this weekend.
And so, in accordance to regulation 19.11.16(c), they have moved the dates of the ban back a week to take into account the Darlington Mowden Park match.
“It is a frustrating situation,” said Albion’s director of rugby Graham Dawe. “But it is one we have to accept and move on.”
Koteczky’s absence is likely to mean the experienced Tom Bedford will be handed a chance in this favourite position.
Bedford start the season there but has also played 13 and wing.
Meanwhile, fellow Albion back Matt Shepherd felt Albion really showed what they were made of when Koteczky was sent-off against Henley.
“It was a good team performance on Saturday,” said Shepherd.
“Playing rugby with 14 men is never easy, especially in a game like that where they wanted to take it to us. It was hard, but we’re glad we got the ‘W’.
“We showed that we wanted it. I think the last 60 minutes we pulled together exactly how the coaches wanted us to. We really put a marker down and we just have to carry on until Darlington. We just have to keep pushing.”