Report by Chris Bentley
A loanee, a returnee and a potential banana skin are the headlines as Albion make the 680-mile round trip to basement side Hull this weekend.
Albion face hosts who will have nothing to lose and present something of an unlikely threat. Despite sitting bottom with no wins this season, Hull have taken everyone but Rosslyn Park close at their home Ferens ground. Indeed, league leaders and most recent visitors Rams narrowly edged a 19-25 win.
On paper, Albion should prove too strong but National League rugby is always full of surprises so the Ocean City’s finest will need to be on their mettle to keep their winning run going.
Selection-wise, the front row looks well balanced with the notable absence of prop Dan Pullinger filled by Redruth loanee Jess Tompsett, who impressed off the bench last time out. Fresh from captaining the Navy as they commence their representative season, Kye Beasley jumps onto the bench.
Harry Wilkinson moves across to his preferred hooker slot and Ramaz Rukhadze remains at loosehead. Jake Clemson returns to join warhorse Dan Collier in the second row. After an impressive turn off the bench, Angus Hodges gets the nod at 8 allowing Herbie Stupple a rare chance for a week off.
The ever-reliable duo of Torin Clarke and George Mills complete an impressive looking forward pack.
In the backline, the Albion faithful will be excited to see the return of the abrasive Jon Dawe to a starting XV for the first time in a couple of seasons. Alongside Kyle Speare, he will bring a harder edge to the backline offensive.
Jack Oulton links up with the Welsh Wizard Phil Jones as the halfback partner and, after making some very telling defensive hits off the wing, Setareki Raumakita moves into the centre. The Royal Marine will be the bludgeon while Connor Eastgate will be expected to provide the rapier at 12. Returning to the starting line up another Royal Marine, Craig Duncan, completes a strong-looking starting XV.
It is on the bench that many of the faithful will be excited about the change of the last 12 months. Alongside the aforementioned Beasley, the forward replacement of Jamie Salter has experience to burn. Youngster Charlie Groves will bring huge impact alongside the ‘Prince of Plymouth’ Alex Ducker and Tom Putt covering the backline, it shows just how far the club have come when they were travelling with a solitary replacement a season ago!
NEXT UP AT ALBION
Plymouth Albion XV v Royal Navy Rugby Union – Wednesday 22nd Feb, 7:30 PM K/O
Plymouth Albion v Bishops Stortford – Saturday 25th Feb, 3 PM K/O