Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Albion prop Judge relishing big game at Darlington Mowden Park

Christian Judge

CHRISTIAN JUDGE is relishing Saturday’s big National One clash with Darlington Mowden Park at the Northern Echo Arena.

Both teams have only lost one game since November and only four points separate the sides in the table, with Albion fifth and Darlington seventh.

Darlington are only 10 points of second spot and Albion only six. A win for either on Saturday could be crucial with the top four – Richmond, Blackheath, Hartpury College and Ampthill – all meeting each other on the same day and sixth-placed Esher playing Rosslyn Park the night before.

“It is a very important game this week,” said prop Judge. “I’m personally looking forward to it. It should be good.

“We’ve just got to train well this week and hopefully things will go our way.

“They (Darlington) have been on a really good run and we have been doing well as well, so I think it will be a good game, but you just don’t know what is going to happen on the day.”

Albion frustratingly lost 25-15 at home to Darlington in November in horrible weather. The proved to be a turning point in Mowden Park’s season as after that they went on a 12-game winning streak.

“Unfortunately it didn’t go our way that day,” said Judge. “But since then we have learnt a lot as a team and have gelled well.”

Darlington play in a 25,000 all-seater stadium, where they average crowds of just over 1,000.

Judge said: “From what I understand the stadium is big, but that will be good.

“But, to be honest, you just focus on the game. It will be nice to run out to but after that you just focus 100 per cent on the game in front of you.”

Judge was in the North East last weekend training with the England Counties squad ahead of their match with the Scotland Club XV in Gala.

He made his England Counties debut in their 57-27 defeat to the Scottish representative team last Friday.

“Obviously the result was not what we wanted,” said Judge. “That was disappointing, but I enjoyed the experience.

“It was my first time with England Counties and I enjoyed getting to know the other guys and the training we did.

“It was a good experience and one that I enjoyed, albeit I would have liked to have won.”

Judge had never previously represented his country at any level.

“It was pretty surreal standing there singing the anthem,” he said. “That’s sort of what made it, I guess, that whole aspect of the pride of pulling on that shirt.”

Judge is hoping he will get to try and make up for the Scotland defeat when England Counties play France Federale at Blackheath on March 11.

“I am hoping I did enough to be in contention, but I’ll just take it one step at a time,” he said. “I’ll go to training next week and see how it goes.

“We are at home this time and got plenty to learn from so hopefully that will be beneficial.”

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