PROP Sam Nixon will make his Plymouth Albion debut on Saturday when winless Rosslyn Park visit Brickfields in National One.
The 20-year-old from Somerset is the third player in three games to be handed the number one shirt, following in the footsteps of Will Norton and Tom Cowan-Dickie.
Albion, after their 37-14 defeat at Hartpury College last weekend, also hand first appearances of the season to experienced half-backs Kieran Hallett and Cameron Setter.
Setter has not started a game since April after breaking his leg and then suffering a toe injury on his return. He takes over from Jack Maunder at scrum-half.
Player-coach Hallett, who returned to Brickfields this summer after a five-year absence, has missed Albion’s opening two matches due to injury.
He will start in the number 10 shirt, with Joe Simmonds moving from fly-half to inside centre.
Albion will have a new centre partnership on Saturday as Seti Raumakita will make his first appearance in the number 13 shirt having moved in from the wing.
Robin Wedlake comes in on the wing for his first start of the season, with Dan Powell and Dean Squire dropping out of the starting line-up.
On the bench, George Mills returns, but surprisingly there is no place for hooker Rupert Freestone, who was a regular in last year’s matchday squad.
Albion will be expecting a fired up Rosslyn Park side after the London club’s disappointing start to the new season.
Park were among the teams expected to be challenging for promotion but have lost their first two matches.
They were beaten 24-15 away at Ampthill on the opening day of the season before surprisingly losing 22-19 at home to Cambridge last weekend. Albion beat Cambridge 23-18 in their opening game.
Rosslyn Park are likely to include two former Albion players among their backs in the former of Mark Kohler and Toby Howley-Berridge.
Kohler, who can play wing or centre, was at Park last season but centre Howley-Berridge joined them this summer after a campaign at Championship side Ealing.
Last year’s meetings between the two clubs could not have been closer, with Park winning by one point (16-15) at Brickfields in the second match of the campaign and Albion triumphing 26-24 at the Rock at the start of January.
Matt Shepherd scored his first Albion points against Rosslyn Park last season, with a try in the September meeting at Brickfields.
Albion will be hoping for a bigger crowd than their opening match of the season. Just 688 people watched their game against Cambridge, which was their lowest crowd since moving to Brickfields in 2003.
Albion: 15 Matt Shepherd, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Seti Raumakita, 12 Joe Simmonds, 11 Robin Wedlake, 10 Kieran Hallett, 9 Cameron Setter, 1 Sam Nixon, 2 Jamie Salter, 3 Dan Pullinger, 4 Nile Dacres, 5 Ed Holmes, 6 Rupert Cooper, 7 Dan Williams, 8 Herbie Stupple. Reps: 16 Tom Cowan-Dickie, 17 Billy Keast, 18 Dan Collier, 19 George Mills, 20 Dean Squire.
Come on AALLBBIIOONN!
A huge match early in the season!! A win against RP will show we are contenders in the league, and will boost future attendances. A loss, especially a bad loss (G forbid), will only lead to a feeling that we let a wonderful opportunity slip between our fingers!!