Plymouth Albion line up against Birmingham Moseley in their rearranged National League One game at Billesley Common today (Saturday, February 24, KO 3pm.)
Just seven days after their impressive 34-19 home victory over second-placed Darlington Mowden Park, Albion will be keen to prove that performance was not a one-off.
Head coach Kieran Hallett was particularly impressed with Dan Williams who not only made his first start of the 2017-18 campaign but also stepped into the captain’s role vacated by the injured Herbie Stupple and Eoghan Grace.
Williams had been sidelined with a subscapularis tear in his shoulder but returned to action on the bench earlier this month against Old Elthamians.
Hallett said: “Dan is a great bloke to have around. He has been frustrated with his amount of game time this year because of injury but he has worked hard to get back in this position and he is reaping the rewards now. it is fantastic to see him back out on the pitch and doing his thing.”
Williams, 29, who combines his rugby with a buying role at global online retailer Pro:Direct in Newton Abbot, said: “Playing at Brickfields we always back ourselves to win against anyone. We take a lot of pride in that home record and we don’t want to give it up easily, so we had plenty of motivation on Saturday to go out and keep it going.”
Williams was particularly pleased with his team’s discipline during DMP’s strong and sustained defence off the line: “Looking at the week before we were in similar situations but the pleasing thing from Saturday was that we maintained our composure and kept backing ourselves and eventually it paid off.
“After about 60 minutes we had three tries but the best thing was we were relentless in everything we did and you can’t ask for more than that.”
The back row forward rates the Midlands side highly and understands their likely threats.
“It will be a tough encounter. They have a big pack and I’m sure they will have plenty of motivation from their side to get a result.
“We are well aware we are a big fish in this league and when teams play against us they always step up but we are happy with that. We can only control what we can control so we will take it to them on Saturday and hopefully carry on what came from last week’s game.
“They have the ability to throw it around as well and have some good backs. Both teams will probably want to try and play a bit of open rugby. We are hopefully coming to the end of the wet weather now so the less close the encounter the better!
“But we will be prepared for whatever they throw at us.”
Albion’s success last week was all the more impressive due to the absence of key squad members, not just back row colleagues Grace and Stupple but also the influential ex-Premiership fly-half Dan Mugford whose ruptured tendon ruled him out for the foreseeable future.
Added Williams: “We said last week don’t wait for somebody else to do something. Be that person to take responsibility – and everyone did! It was a massive team performance.
“We are obviously gutted that Herbie and Gracey are injured but it is a real opportunity for the people coming into those positions to show what they can do and it is a blessing for me to get a bit of game time! “
The popular father of two is delighted with his return from injury: “It was a bit earlier than expected but I am happy to be back in the mix. It has been a while since I played here at Albion.”
Named as captain for the second week running, Williams is clear what he wants from his team mates this time round: “We just want to carry on from last week with the resilience and physicality we showed and take that to Moseley.”
Plymouth Albion team to face Birmingham Moseley at Billesley Common on Saturday, February 24, KO 3pm.
15 Matthew Shepherd, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Dean Squire, 12 Tom Hendrickson, 11 Harrison Cully, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Joe Snow, 1 Will Norton, 2 Jamie Salter, 3 Jack Owlett, 4 Ed Holmes, 5 Sean Lonsdale, 6 George Mills, 7 Sam Daly, 8 Dan Williams (Captain).
16 Dan Pullinger, 17 Luke Chapman, 18 Dan Swain, 19 Cam Setter, 20 Jordan Gott.