Plymouth Albion Back At Brickfields To Face Moseley

Sean Lonsdale of Plymouth Albion is tackled by Ciaran Moore of Birmingham Moseley during the National Division 1 match between Birmingham Moseley v Plymouth Albion at Billesley Common, Birmingham, Midlands on February 24th 2018, UK. PHOTO: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

Plymouth Albion are back at home tomorrow (Saturday, April 14) to take on Birmingham Moseley in National League One (KO 3pm).

The two sides last met at Billesley Common in February, when Albion snatched victory in the final five minutes (20-16), thanks to two late tries from centre Tom Hendrickson.

Albion are now fifth in National League One with two games in hand after last week’s 33-14 loss away at Hull Ionians.

Head coach Kieran Hallett says: “For some of those guys it will have been the first time they have done a long overnight trip so that is a learning experience for them.

“Afterwards we were obviously very disappointed and it is easy to go straight to your default position of everything was terrible, but it actually wasn’t the case and, on reflection, it very rarely is.

“We were only maybe five per cent off, but that was enough as we were up against a highly motivated team.

“Take nothing away from Hull, they thoroughly deserved to win and they bettered us in pretty much every aspect of the game.”

The loss led Hallett to refocus his squad on their aims for the remaining five matches.

“That has got to come from within. It has got to come from them. We have to figure out what they want to achieve between now and the end of the season.

“There isn’t really anything to play for. Obviously we want to finish as high as we can but it is difficult against a team that is scrapping for everything.

“Hull were actually a little disappointed because their five point win didn’t really change anything in terms of the results around them.

“The challenge for us is can we mentally be where we need to be? That is a huge task every week and this week will be no different.”

Albion fielded a depleted squad, including five youngsters virtually untested at National One level and even Hallett himself took a seat on the replacements bench.

“We don’t have the biggest squad anyway so a couple of injuries and a few call-ups and we are struggling.

“We have a couple more back from Exeter this weekend. Sean Lonsdale and Harvey Skinner are available and we are lucky we can call on them in the positions we need.

“Having Harvey back in as a recognised number ten will make a big difference and that is no slight on Dean who plays hard and it means a lot to him. But it is different having that experience which will help the younger guys around him, Robbie and Luke.”

Despite Moseley lying mid-table in eighth place, Hallett nonetheless expects a strong challenge.

“When we are playing teams that are in the same boat with not a lot to play for, it literally is a case of who can mentally get it right on the day.

“You can talk about systems and structures but at this point of the season it is about who will be in the right frame of mind to put their bodies through the process to do what it takes to get the win.”

Squad News

With Jack Arnott, John Kelly, Dan Mugford and Robin Wedlake already ruled out for the rest of the season, a number of recent injuries – to second row Dan Collier and back row forwards Eoghan Grace and Dan Williams – have hit the squad hard.

Hallett explains: “Dan Collier was down to start last week but pulled his hamstring on Thursday.

“Eoghan Grace rolled his ankle at Ampthill and it hasn’t settled down. There is something more serious going on there and we are looking at what we can do to get that right. Whether he will play again before the end of the season I am not sure.

“Dan Williams has been hanging on by a thread and is not going to play this week. He has put in a hell of a shift on half a shoulder so he has earned the right to have a rest. We could push him but I don’t want to.

“Even with the Exeter boys back it doesn’t leave us with many.”

Plymouth Albion team to face Birmingham Moseley at Brickfields on Saturday, April 14 (KO 3pm).

15 Matt Shepherd, 14 Devon Jewsbury, 13 Luke Flack, 12 Dean Squire, 11 Harrison Cully, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Cam Setter, 1 Will Norton, 2 Rupert Freestone, 3 Dan Pullinger, 4 Lewis Pearson, 5 Sean Lonsdale, 6 George Mills, 7 Sam Daly, 8 Herbie Stupple.

Replacements

16 Luke Chapman, 17 Ben Phillips, 18 Flynn Elworthy, 19 Robbie Weeks, 20 Matt Crosscombe.