Whisper it, but we might actually get a game this time. The Leeds bus rolled into Plymouth a couple of weeks before Christmas, but it might as well not have done.
Fans of both sides were let down when the decision was made by the Leeds team captain 30 minutes before kick-off that the game was not going to be played, only for a Leeds training session to take place on the pitch after it was postponed.
But there are no excuses this time, nowhere to run, and no hiding in what has recently become very much fortress Brickfields.
Beaten only once at home all season, seven wins in a row on familiar soil have encapsulated the seismic shift both on the pitch and off it. We’ve said that a lot this season, but words cannot quite do justice to how far we have come of late.
But another challenge awaits, and one that we cannot take for granted. Leeds may have bailed out before, but that does not make them any less of a threat to Albion this weekend.
Much like Ryan Lamb’s men, the Tykes come into this one off the back of an emphatic home win, beating Hull by 24 points to claim their fourth victory of the season.
It was a decent time for them to put a W on the formbook having gone nine without victory – their previous win prior to last weekend’s success came in their reverse fixture against Hull.
Our 28-12 win over Chinnor last weekend followed a frustrating away defeat at the hands of Esher. But scoring points at home is crucial, and we’ve been doing a lot of that recently. Let’s hope that Saturday afternoon is much the same.
Selection wise, Harry Wilkinson slots in at tighthead prop allowing Ramaz Rukhadze to move back to his more accustomed loosehead role. They will bookend try scorer Jamie Salter in a formidable front row. With Jake Clemson away, Herbie Stupple has opted to slot into the second row with last week’s man of the match Dan Collier allowing Angus Hodges to form a dynamic back row with Torin Clarke and George Mills.
Tom Putt steps into the ten shirt in place of another absentee, Phil Jones, and he will be looking to strike a solid partnership with Jack Oulton. Connor Eastgate and Jeremy To’a remain the centre partnership and a lot will be expected of them to provide some real go forward against the Leeds backline.
After a stunning cameo from the bench, the hitman Setareki Raumakita joins Bude based rocket Kyle Speare on the wings, and they will be marshalled by Charlie Groves who is making his starting debut. After a few solid performances off the bench the former Chiefs academy product will look to take this opportunity after some time ‘on the pine’.
On the bench, Jess Tompsett, on loan from Redruth, is in line for debut at tighthead amongst a more familiar looking set of reserves.
With the chance to take fifth spot should they win, Albion will be looking to do one over the visitors and then get into the bar to watch the Calcutta cup game that will be screened immediately after the whistle
Be sure to join us for an action-packed day of rugby at the Brickfields.
Albion V Leeds Tykes, K/O 3 PM