Albion face a stern test this week with the visit of high-flying Sale Sharks to the Brickfields. After a weekend to forget against Rams, this game couldn’t come soon enough for the Ocean Cities finest and has a fair bit of spice lingering from the game back in September.
On that date, the home side flew into a 26-10 half-time lead only for an injury raved Albion to battle back to a 27-28 lead with eight minutes left. Sadly, Sale wrestled control and scored twice in that period as the visitors fatigued. This seemed to be the catalyst for Sale to go on a winning run that sees them proudly in third place while Albion have continued to have heart-breaking results far too often.
Sale boasts a wealth of talent out wide with former Premiership stars with Fergus Mulchrone and Tom Brady having well over 100 games at the elite tier. Upfront they have a very lively and mobile pack with the memorably named Stone Priestley Nagle marshalling from 8. They are also coached by Neill Briggs, himself an England Saxon Cap.
Coming into the game, Albion are relying on ‘last hooker standing’ Herry Wilkinson who was one of the bright lights in last weeks defeat. He is joined by Danny Southworth (who has returned from a very brief spell at Doncaster) and veteran Dan Pullinger in the front row. The second row has real grunt with warhorse Dan Colier joining man mountain Shek Sherrif and a lot will be expected of the tight five for Albion to be in with a shot.
Jake Clemson switches into the backrow in the place of injured Will Gibson to join George Mills and captain Herbie Stupple in a more balanced looking loose trio. Out wide it is a case of ‘as you were’ aside from the returning Setareki Raumakita who returns at the expense of Frankie Nowell who drops to the bench.
Albion certainly had the run of the game in the opening a closing stanza of the game last week and hopes are high the backline can carry on with the flair of the last ten minutes where they scored two spectacular tries from distance!
Looking forward to the game head coach Damian Welch said “There’s a huge amount of frustration in camp this week as we feel we went to Reading and didn’t attack the game as we hoped. We had issues with our discipline which played into the hands of a team set up to play like Rams and we didn’t fire any meaningful shots between the first ten minutes and the closing ten.
We face a very good attacking Sale side this weekend who will be on a big wave of confidence after Tonbridge last week. I’m expecting a good positive reaction from our lads and if we get that it should be a really exciting game”
Playing at home, in front of the Brickfields faithful and on the back of two bonus point wins in Plymouth, Albion have a fair bit to be excited about this game. With three home games on the bounce starting this weekend, there is no doubt Albion need to find the winning habit if the season is to anything more than a dogfight. With clear weather and a decent crowd expected the time for action is nigh upon them.
Albion v Sale – 3:00 PM K/O – Saturday 22nd January