FORWARDS Herbie Stupple and Dan Pullinger have given Plymouth Albion a boost by penning new contacts with the club.
The pair were keen to stay in the area and have followed Nile Dacres in committing to the National One side for the 2015/16 season.
After a number of injury-hit campaigns Stupple enjoyed a very successful season in 2015/16, starting every match and scoring 14 tries.
He was originally signed by Graham Dawe in 2011 as a dual-registered player from Exeter Chiefs. He then joined Albion permanently in 2012.
Stupple was the only player who started the 2014/15 campaign who was contracted to the club at the end of last season, having previously signed a two-year deal.
“I love Plymouth and I have never been able to leave,” said Stupple, who was one of only four members of the 2014/15 to stay at the club last summer. “I am happy here and if I’m happy the better rugby I am going to play.
“I am also happy more guys have signed on like Nile (Dacres) and Pully (Dan Pullinger) and a few others have said they will. That’s massively positive. That made my decision to want to stay on easier.”
He added: “I couldn’t have asked for anything more really this past season. The support I had was amazing from friends, family and everyone here at the club, especially Graham (Dawe). I am very thankful.
“I don’t want to do anything different next season, although there’s still things I can improve on, especially mentally. I’ve got to stop worrying about things so much. I still worry about breaking in every single game.”
Stupple is settled in Cornwall and did not really want to move away from the West Country.
He will look to combine his rugby next year with work outside the club.
“I will look to pursue something out of rugby now and I have to look on that as a positive,” he said. “Rugby is only a short career.”
But he is hoping to finish off this season with a Twickenham cup final appearance.
If he can help Cornwall beat Surrey this coming weekend at Camborne then the Duchy will reach Twickenham for a fourth successive year.
“It all comes down to Saturday,” said Stupple. “There’s rumours of 3,000-plus crowd on Saturday at Camborne.
“I would be buzzing if we win. It would be nice to have another chance to run out at Twickenham.”
Meanwhile, prop Pullinger is looking forward to hopefully establishing himself as a regular starter with his hometown club next season.
The 21-year-old initially joined Albion as a dual-registered play in 2014 from Exeter Chiefs but only made one league start that season, which came in the final match.
However, he signed permanently for the club last summer. He featured in 20 of Albion’s 30 league games last term, although only made seven starts due to the form of Christian Judge and Ollie Dawe, who have both now left Albion, as has James Penman, who could also play prop.
“It’s a fresh start,” said Pullinger. “I am hoping to get more game-time than I did last year.
“I just want to try and get a lot more starts.
“It’s also good to stick around in Plymouth.
“It’s a case of seeing who else signs and have trust in one another that we can have another successful season.”
Albion have yet to confirm who will be coaching the team next season. Exeter Chiefs have lent them academy coaches while former Halifax rugby league coach Martin Hall, who had a brief spell as an assistant at Brixham, is working with Albion at the moment. The club are currently describing the former Wigan Warriors player as an ‘official’.
Pullinger said: “As of yet we don’t know who the coaching staff will be. That is all up to them (the owners), but for them to offer me a new contract hopefully means I am going to be in their plans.”