Rugby

RUGBY PREVIEWS: Title-chasing Tamar Saracens look for ‘massive’ win over Wessex

Tamar Saracens

THE big rugby match this weekend is at Parkway where Tamar Saracens take on Devon One title rivals Wessex (2.30pm).

Wessex currently lead the table, with Saracens five points behind in third. However, Saracens do have one game in hand on Wessex and two on second-placed Topsham.

If Sarries win this weekend they will be in pole position to win the title and claim automatic promotion.

“It’s an absolutely massive game,” said Tamar Saracens coach Stuart Busfield.

“It’s going to be a big day for the club. We’re at home and we should get a decent crowd as some other clubs don’t have game. It’s a good showpiece for us.

“We are not at full strength by any means but the guys are really tuned into this match. Several players have put themselves through extra sessions this week.

“Tom Rigby as done some extra kicking sessions as we realise it could come down to a penalty.

“The guys are really geared up for it.

“I’m not only looking for a win but also a performance that shows we are good enough to be a Cornwall/Devon team.”

Saracens could go top, with a game in hand, if they were to claim a bonus point win and deny Wessex any points.

They do have Ryan Dingle available again to come into their back-row, alongside the impressive Aaron Webb.

Although they do have a few players unavailable they have got their first choice front-row for the game, which Busfield believes could be crucial.

Also in Devon One, bottom side St Columba & Torpoint entertain in-form fourth-placed New Cross, who Tamar Saracens face next weekend.

NATIONAL THREE SOUTH WEST

IVYBRIDGE could move up to eighth in the National Three South West table if they beat fifth-placed Hornets away in a replayed match.

The original game in December had to be abandoned for bad light after a host of injuries, including a serious one to Ivybridge captain Jay Geraty, who dislocated his knee.

Ivybridge were winning 12-0 at the time and they will be hoping they can carry on where they lefted off on their last visit to Weston.

The Cross-in-Hand side will go into Saturday’s match in good form. They have won two of their last three league games, with only title-chasing Exmouth beating them since the end of February.

Last weekend they won 41-19 away at Bournemouth and they also beat Lydney 38-0 at the start of the month.

Those wins have moved the Bridgers away from the relegation zone. Although they remain in 10th they are 13 points clear of 12th-placed Newton Abbot and are level on points with ninth-placed Dings and just one behind eighth-placed Cleve, with two games in hand.

WESTERN COUNTIES WEST, CORNWALL/DEVON & DEVON TWO

DEVONPORT Services make the relatively short trip to promotion-chasing Okehampton on Saturday in Western Counties West.

Services could do with some points to pull away from the teams chasing them. Although they sit in eighth spot, they are only four points off third-from-bottom Crediton, with the lower half of the table getting very tight.

Okehampton’s need for points, though, is probably even greater as they want them to keep alive their hopes of promotion.

They sit in third spot but could go top if they win their games in hand.

Okes’ player-coach Gareth Evans has been in France this week. He started for the Royal Navy in their heated match against the Marine Nationale.

Service and Okehampton did play out a great game in October at the Rectory, with the visitors scoring a last-gasp try to win 22-21.

Okes had been 17-0 up but Services turned the game on its head and were leading 21-17 with time almost up.

In the Cornwall/Devon League, relegation-threatened Tavistock have a big match away at Bodmin, who are just three places above them in the table.

Tavistock sit in the final relegation place, four points off safety, but with this weekend’s game in hand.

Tavvy have been playing quite well the last few weeks and kept high-flying Plymstock Albion Oaks out for 40 minutes last week before conceding three second half tries.

In Devon Two, third-placed Old Techs host second-placed Torrington in a replayed match. The first game was abandoned due to a shocking injury suffered by Techs’ Ian Young.

Up until two weeks ago it looked like Saturday’s match at Weston Mill could be a promotion decided, but Techs’ hopes of returning to Devon One are over losing 11-10 to Buckfastleigh last weekend and Torrington gaining a walkover win over DHSOB and a draw with leaders Ilfracombe.

Techs are now 13 points behind Torrington with just two games to play.

South West rugby fixtures can be found HERE

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