Plymouth Albion are away again today (Saturday, November 4) against tenth-place Rosslyn Park in their National League One game.
Albion go into the game following their last minute loss at Darlington Mowden Park last week, a defeat that the club’s fly half Dan Mugford says was hard to swallow.
“It was really disappointing. It was a long way to go and to score 31 points away from home and not manage to win the game was a really tough blow. I think if we are honest with ourselves we probably didn’t put in the performance in defence that was worthy of the win, so we have been working hard this week to make sure that Saturday is a different story.”
After promising much last year, the London club has made something of a lacklustre start to the season, with just three wins from nine games.
Albion’s popular number ten, however, is not underestimating the threat that Rosslyn Park could pose.
“Every team is putting a target on us at the moment so I think they will come out firing and give it a great shot. It is another 3G pitch away from home so I am sure it will be a quick and expansive game. We are focusing on ourselves this week and making sure we get our performance right, which will hopefully mean we can come away with the win.”
With the team shaken-up as a result of injuries to captain Herbie Stupple and back row George Mills, Mugford accepts there may be challenges.
“Herbie and George are senior players for us. They bring leadership as well as their qualities as individual players. But John Kelly came on last week, played really well and scored an important try that almost clinched the win. He brought a lot of energy and I am looking forward to seeing him have another good run out at the weekend.”
The backs, too, have undergone something of a reshuffle, with Seta Raumakita moving out to the wing and Jack Arnott shifting to full back.
Mugford explains: “We are looking at a couple of different combinations. The team has stayed the same in the back line for a number of weeks. It is a little tweak to see how it goes and if it can offer us something slightly different.”
Despite a strong start to the season that sees Albion third in National League One, the former Sale Shark says both he and his team mates have more to offer.
“We have done relatively well, losing just two games, but as a team we don’t feel we have quite hit the performance that we would have liked to. So we are working hard to try and make sure we are hitting our straps as the season goes on.
“I don’t feel like I have played at the top of my game but I know I haven’t played poorly either so I am still looking to improve and find the things that I can be doing better for the team and hopefully that will push us in the right direction.”
Mugford, who spoke out earlier this year about his battle with depression, adds: “It is great to be out and playing rugby. I am enjoying it and trying to have a smile on my face for most of it – although there wasn’t one at the end of the game last week!
“There is always room for improvement so I am always pushing myself to make sure I am getting there.”
Plymouth Albion team to face Rosslyn Park at The Rock, Priory Lane, on Saturday, November 4, (KO 3pm):
Injuries to Sam Daly and Sean Lonsdale have forced last minute changes to the Plymouth Albion line-up, with Dan Collier and Dan Swain now making up the second row and John Kelly moving back to number 7.
15 Jack Arnott, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Dean Squire, 12 Harvey Skinner, 11 Seta Raumakita, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Joe Snow, 1 Will Norton, 2 Jamie Salter, 3 Jack Owlett, 4 Dan Collier, 5 Dan Swain, 6 Ed Holmes, 7 John Kelly, 8 Eoghan Grace (Captain).
Dan Pullinger, Rupert Freestone, Cameron Setter, Matt Shepherd, Jordan Gott