Plymouth Albion / Rugby

TEAM NEWS: Seven players to make league debuts for Albion against Cambridge

Matt Crosscombe will make his Plymouth Albion league debut on Saturday

Matt Crosscombe will make his Plymouth Albion league debut on Saturday

SEVEN players will make their Plymouth Albion league debuts on Saturday when they host Cambridge in their opening National One match of the 2016/17 season.

Young prop Billy Keast and his Exeter Chiefs academy team-mates scrum-half Jack Maunder and fly-half Joe Simmonds are handed starts, along with flanker George Mills, centres Dan Powell and Dean Squire and winger Matthew Crosscombe.

There are also starts for Tom Cowan-Dickie, Jamie Salter and Dan Williams, who returned to Albion this summer.

Fellow summer signings Rupert Cooper and Will Norton are named on the bench. 

However, there is currently no place for player-coach Kieran Hallett, who had a three-game loan spell at Cambridge during the 2006-07 season.

Hallett is one 15 players to have played a competitive match for both Albion and Cambridge within the last 10 years. Others include former coach James Shanahan, Elliot Bale and James Penman, who was the last player to move directly between the two clubs.

Cambridge, who have been promoted into the league as National Two South champions, will be making their second visit to Brickfields.

Their first came in February 2007 when the two clubs met in the National Trophy. Albion, who handed debuts to schoolboy Harry Spencer and young fly-half Dan Hawkes that day, won 37-8 thanks to tries by Brett Stroud, Regardt van Eyk, Ed Barnes, Ed Lewsey, Nic Sestaret and James Owen.

Nat Saumi, who celebrates his birthday on Saturday, captained Albion that day.

Cambridge included James Shanahan in their starting line-up, while current England back Alex Goode was on their bench.

Albion team to face Cambridge is: 15 Matt Shepherd, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Dean Squire, 12 Dan Powell, 11 Seti Raumakita, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Jack Maunder, 1 Tom Cowan-Dickie, 2 Jamie Salter, 3 Billy Keast, 4 Nile Dacres, 5 Ed Holmes, 6 Dan Williams, 7 George Mills, 8 Herbie Stupple. Replacements: 16 Rupert Freestone, 17 Dan Pullinger, 18 Rupert Cooper, 19 Will Norton, 20 TBC.


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