RUGBY PREVIEWS: Oaks and Liskeard-Looe to battle it out to progress in RFU Senior Vase

PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks and Liskeard-Looe will both have their eyes on Twickenham when they meet at Lux Park on Saturday in the RFU Senior Vase.

Liskeard-Looe know what it is like to run out at the home of English rugby, having played in the Junior Vase final in 2009.

But Oaks have never had the opportunity, which is why they are so keen to do well in the competition, where they are representing Devon.

“It is a competition that we looked at and then got excited about when we got in it,” said player-coach Aiden Taylor.

“It has been a long time getting up to this point and it would be frustrating if we didn’t get past the first hurdle.

“For us this is about putting our name out there. We are quite a newly-established club and the players that are here just want to do as well as we can in this competition.”

But Oaks’ hopes of progressing in the competition have been hit by injuries and unavailabilities.

“We are as ready as we can be,” said Taylor. “We have a lot of players unavailable or out injured, so it is not going to be easy for us, but we have tried to do as much as we can in training this week and we hope the players that we do have available will play well.”

Among those missing for Oaks are James MacFarlane, Tim Coats, Dave Byng, Tom Richards and Dan Romang.

“They are all key first team players,” said Taylor.

“But I am hoping we do have enough.

“The players that are available are excited about this competition and we are going to do everything we can to put on a performance.

“Liskeard have had some good results at home and you never know in cup rugby. We don’t know what kind of team they will have out, but it will be a tough one.”

Another team hoping for cup success on Saturday will be Tamar Saracens, who play Totnes at home in the quarter-finals of the Devon Junior Cup.

Sarries are having an impressive season. They sit second in the Devon One table, are still in the Devon Junior Cup, the Lockie Cup and Ellis Trophy.

They have only lost two first team games this season, but one of those was against Saturday’s opponents, Totnes.

“I would not say it is about revenge this week,” said Tamar Saracens player Marc Cioffi. “It is just about putting everything right from the last time.

“I think we underestimated them last time, but they are on a good run now and we will be wary of them. It’s another game and another challenge.”

He added: “We are having a good season so far and are still in all the cups so there’s positive vibes around the club.”

However, Sarries suffered a double blow last Saturday when both Josh Heath and Elliott Jones suffered badly broken fingers and have needed to undergo surgery.

But the better news for them is that Joey Pook has returned from travelling and will be available this weekend.

Meanwhile, Tavistock and Old Techs both have rearranged league games to play on Saturday.

Tavistock face a tough trip to second-placed Paignton in the Cornwall/Devon League, while Techs visit Dartmouth in Devon One.

Tavistock, in 12th spot, boosted their hopes of staying in the Cornwall/Devon League last weekend by beating South Molton to move to within three points of safety, albeit having played a game more than 11th-placed Liskeard.

If Tavvy could get a surprise win in south Devon then it would certainly put the pressure on Liskeard.

“Being a rearranged fixture it’s always difficult to know which way it will go,” said Tavistock’s Hammy Kerswill. “We are huge underdogs on paper but it’s a game we will look to be in throughout.”

Tavistock have a few niggling injuries and so are likely to have to change their winning team and they are boosted by the return of fly-half Rhys Davies.

In Devon One, Techs could really do with a win after three consecutive defeats. However, they took plenty of confidence from their performance in a narrow 29-22 defeat to Tamar Saracens last weekend.

“We should be strong going up there,” said chairman Dave Evans. “We just have to play like we did last week, but we do have to start winning again.”

In the Devon Merit Table, DHSOB are due to host Saltash II at home, while St Columba & Torpoint are due to visit Torquay Athletic II.

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