Coops’ Final Farewell

Rupert Cooper of Plymouth Albion breaks through the tackle of James Williams of Birmingham Moseley during the National Division One match between Birmingham Moseley Rugby v Plymouth Albion at Billesley Common, Birmingham, Midlands, UK on 11th March 2017. - PHOTO: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

By Haden Tye

Rupert Cooper praised Albion’s unique and remarkable fans for making his time at Brickfields so enjoyable after the back-rower moved to Cornish Pirates earlier this week.

The 29-year-old paid testament to Albion’s faithful following and says he’s never experienced support like it before. Rupert enjoyed his season at Brickfields and has no doubt that Kieran Hallett will lead Albion to the Championship sooner rather than later.

“It’s remarkable that the Albion fans travel in the numbers that they do and the distances that they do,” said Rupert. “It’s nothing like I have ever experienced before in a rugby club. It’s quite unique. The club are very lucky to have such dedicated fans that really do want to see the club do well and support where they can. I have been blown away and very impressed by the commitments of those fans.

“I said it in an earlier quote; whether they do it this year or the next year, they will be in the Championship within the next few seasons. I have no doubt about that whatsoever. With Kieran at the helm, Bruce [Priday] and Dave [Venables] running the show at the top and then the players that they have currently got which they will only add to I am sure, they will be in the Championship sooner rather than later, I have absolutely no doubt about that whatsoever.

“I thoroughly enjoyed everything [at Albion]; the rugby side, the off-field and what the club are doing in terms of building something completely new in Plymouth. It’s just that unfortunately, with work commitments and rugby I wasn’t seeing my family as much as I wanted to. The opportunity to go back into the Championship was also another big swing for me.”

Rupert, who is 6’ 3”, joined Albion last July after spending five years with Nottingham in the Championship and says the chance to play in that division in the twilight years of his career is another motive for the move to Pirates.

“There is lots of great stuff happening in Plymouth,” said Rupert. “But by the same token one of the reasons I wanted to join Pirates was that the stadium has been given the OK and everything there seems to be kicking off. They are doing something special and I am getting towards the twilight of my career so I want to play at the highest level for as long as possible and currently Pirates are there and are making some big noises and hopefully I can be a part of that going forward.

“I would like to say thanks to Tolchards and the opportunity that they have given me within the drinks industry. I have learned a lot. Especially thanks to Jim Mardell, who has been very kind to not only land me the opportunity to go to Pirates but also giving me the opportunity in the first place to work for Tolchards.”