With two losses on the log to start the Season, Plymouth Albion face a stern test with the visit of unbeaten Rams this weekend. The mystery that needs resolving pretty quickly for the coaching staff is how to inspire a second-half performance to match the first!
Currently, Albion’s first-half scorecard reads 27-14 while the second half is 0-31 with the added detractor of 5 yellow cards to boot! Although discipline is certainly a contributing factor to the below-par second halves, there is certainly a bit more that needs to be put right at the Brickfields.
Both in their first season coaching National One rugby, coach Damian Welch and Ryan Lamb certainly have pedigree in playing the game and it’s fair to say the team has shown real glimpses of quality, but consistency for the full 80 is what is needed now. Last season, the club found the season-opening to be equally tough going (they lost five of their first six games in the last complete season) before really hitting their straps with 11 consecutive wins!
One thing Albion have undeniably improved since the lockdown is attendance with a 16% uplift on attendance compared to pre covid crowds and hopes are indeed high for another bumper turnout this weekend. Coach Damian Welch even acknowledged the support the team enjoys; “we owe it to the supporters to put a complete performance in this weekend. After working in fits and starts, both the players and coaching staff know what we need to do and this weekend is the perfect opportunity to put our learns into action”
Standing in their way are Reading based Rams, a team who build their game on a very powerful scrum and close driving play. In their two fixtures to date, the Reading-based team have beaten Cambridge (28-34) and newly promoted Tonbridge Juddians (24-13). Having finished above Albion last term, they will have high aspirations for the game and there is no doubt they will be targeting a win.
On the selection front, the Albion XV shows a few changes from the last few weeks with Torin Clarke set to make his debut in the run-on side. Having joined this term from Launceston, Clarke has impressed in training and joins James Mcfarland, another local player stepping up to the National League stage.
Additionally Fijian Powerhouse Setareki Raumakita wings back in following a rib injury that kept him out of the season-opening fixtures.
So let’s make some noise for the guys and cheer them to a win!