Ivybridge ready for big pre-season tests against Taunton and Albion

Ivybridge rugby

IVYBRIDGE Rugby Club are preparing for two massive pre-season tests within the space of six days.

On Saturday, the Cross-in-Hand club travel to National Two South side Taunton, before playing National One outfit Plymouth Albion away on Thursday evening.

Bridgers coach Lewis Paterson believes it will be good for his National Three South West team to face higher league opponents.

However, they do also have matches against lower league Plymstock Albion Oaks and Bude on their pre-season programme to give all their squad opportunities.

Saturday’s match at Taunton will be played over three 30 minute periods.

Ivybridge were initially going to take two teams to Somerset but because of players away, mainly at Broadmasters, they will just take one squad.

“It is going to be a test,” said Paterson. “But we want our players to challenge themselves at a higher level.

“I would be lying if I say I’m not too worried about the results, but it is mainly about the performance.

“The lads are learning and playing against National Two and National One sides will show what it takes to play at that standard. You only find that out by playing against these teams.

“We could play Kingsbridge or Devonport Services, who are good local teams and would give us a good challenge, but in terms of moving forward we need to know what higher league teams do and how they are playing.

“We know we are capable. We beat Exmouth last year and other National Two standard teams. We thumped Lydney 38-0 at our place. The boys are able to do it, but it is just about consistency and depth.

“Saturday’s games will be a massive test of our depth as we have got players missing, like Dom Loomes, Jamie Tripcony, Charlie Briant, Tom Scoles and Damon Akerman, but we still have some young talent coming through who have been absolutely outstanding and they deserve their chance.

“We’ll still have a good side out. It will be a mixture of the best first-team players, the best second-team players and the best colts.”

Paterson says Ivybridge will have more players available to face Albion on Thursday.

“The Albion game we will be sending a side we feel is the strongest we can field and a strong bench of players we feel can challenge,” he said.

“You have to treat these pre-season games as what they are. It is pre-season and we are playing Plymouth. We just have to make sure we play our systems.

“Albion will be so well drilled and have players of a different calibre and so we should not try to mirror their rugby.

“I want our players to stick to our systems and how we want to play and try and create havoc. We want to try our style of rugby against Albion and see where we get. If we are successful and break them down then we will know we are doing something right.”

Ivybridge were left frustrated last weekend when Plymouth Fijians RFC pulled out of a fixture just a hour before the match.

In the end Ivybridge ended up playing an inter-club match.

“We did our best to get something out of the day as we played a game against ourselves,” said Paterson.

“It was quite positive apart from one lad, Adam Jones, dislocated and broke his ankle, which was disappointing.”

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