BACK-ROW forwards Herbie Stupple and Nile Dacres will achieve an impressive feat on Saturday when Plymouth Albion bring their 2015/16 National One season to a close at champions Richmond (3pm).
The pair will have started every single one of Albion’s 30 league games this campaign.
For Stupple the turnaround in fortune is incredible as he only managed one hour of league rugby last season and just five hours the year before due to injury.
“After playing an hour of league rugby last year to play nearly 40 hours this is a massive positive for me,” said Stupple.
“I think this is the first time in my whole career I’ve managed a full season, certainly since college.
“I think I said it in my head that I just wanted to stay on the pitch for every single game this year, mainly to thank everyone for all the time and money they have spent on fixing me the last few years. I feel I have given something back to the club now.”
Dacres, a summer arrival from Moseley, has played every minute of the season, apart from the final 10 against Loughborough away where he picked up a yellow card.
“In pre-season it was all about coming in and working hard as no-one had a place cemented,” said Dacres.
“You’ve got to take each game as it comes, but luckily I’ve been able to get on a roll.”
Both Stupple and Dacres have also run in the tries for Albion this term. Stupple has scored 14 times and Dacres 11 as Albion have chalked up an impressive 21 wins.
No team other than Richmond can finish with more victories in National One than Albion, but both Stupple and Dacres would love it to be 22 wins.
“The buzz from last week’s Hartpury game is massive, especially with everything going on at the club,” said Stupple. “It would be good to be the only team to do the double on both Richmond and Hartpury.
“It is the last game of the season and we just have to look to empty the tank.”
Stupple added: “I would like to say I’ve got a bit of time off after this weekend, but I haven’t as I’m going to play for Cornwall. I have always said I wanted to play for them but I’ve never had the chance, so why not?”
Albion are forced to make one change to their starting line-up with scrum-half Cameron Setter ruled out after breaking his leg against Hartpury last week.
In his absence, Matt Shepherd, who has also scored 11 tries this season, starts at nine, with 18-year-old Tom Putt coming in at full-back.
Albion stunned Richmond 33-20 on the opening day of the season at Brickfields, but since then the west London side have only lost three other matches – one of which was last week against Rosslyn Park. Hartpury and Esher are the only other teams to beat them.
15 Tom Putt
14 Harrison Cully
13 Tom Bedford
12 Marc Koteczky
11 Robin Wedlake
10 Billy Searle
9 Matt Shepherd
1 Ollie Dawe
2 James Penman
3 Christian Judge
4 Dan Collier
5 Ed Holmes
6 Nile Dacres
7 Sam Matavesi
8 Herbie Stupple (capt)
Reps (from): Rupert Freestone, Dan Pullinger, Andy Chesters, Gregory Sebastien, Cameron Thompson, Jon Dawe.