Experienced quartet return for vital Plymouth Albion game
PLYMOUTH Albion welcome back captain Sean-Michael Stephen, lock Brett Beukeboom, fly-half Paul Roberts and hooker Jon Vickers for tomorrow's vital league match against Moseley at Brickfields.
The quartet were rested for last weekend's trip to Ireland to take on Munster A in Cork.
Albion, though, are unable to call on dual registered Exeter players Henry Slade, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Alex Brown and Will Carrick-Smith.
With England Under-20 back Slade unavailable again it means Albion will only have one recognised fly-half and goalkicker in their squad tomorrow.
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Back-row forward Herbie Stupple is named on the bench to face Moseley after making his comeback from a broken shoulder as a late replacement against Munster.
"Herbie will be on the bench," said coach Nat Saumi. "We don't need to rush him. He has just come back and only played 10 minutes.
"You have to get him slowly back into it.
"But it is good to have him and he has got his confidence back.
"He is looking forward to this weekend after a good week's training."
It is a big weekend for Albion and the other bottom half sides in the table who all play each other.
After only winning one league match since the end of September Albion sit fifth from bottom.
They would have been in the bottom four had London Scottish not had three points deducted for failing to re-register a player following a loan spell at a lower league side.
Moseley currently sit third from bottom but are only seven points behind Albion.
A victory for the Birmingham-based club tomorrow would certainly drag Albion into the relegation dogfight, particularly if Doncaster and Jersey were to also win against London Scottish and Rotherham, respectively.
The Albion players are certainly aware of how important tomorrow's game is at Brickfields.
Canadian lock Beukeboom said: "It is a big test for us.
"We need to curb this losing streak.
"We want to stay in the top eight and, hopefully, we can use this weekend as a turning point in our season and that we can go on and string together some more wins."
Albion have suffered a few poor home displays in the league recently and Beukeboom admits the players want to perform tomorrow in front of their own fans.
"We have been unfortunate playing at home in front of our own fans and so we will be looking to end that streak definitely this weekend," he said.
"First we need to play good rugby and play our kind of rugby, which we have been getting away from in the last couple of games.
"If we do that we can come away with a win."
Beukeboom admits the players have found their recent run of results tough to take, particularly after such a good start to the season where they won four out of their first five games.
He said: "It has been a frustrating, but some of the games we have lost could have gone either way, like the Pirates game.
"Then up at Leeds the match went to uncontested scrums 10 minutes in, so that put us at a disadvantage.
"There have been games where we have been playing good, but the score just has not gone our way."
Albion have struggled with their line-out this season, but Beukeboom is hopeful that area will come right tomorrow.
"We have come up against some good defensive line-out teams," he said.
"But we have really put in some hard work and broken down the video of Moseley and several other teams. We have been working on what we think we are doing wrong and we hope that we can change this weekend.
Albion have already beaten Moseley this season.
They triumphed 24-22 in a tight game at Billesley Common.
"That is a positive," said Beukeboom. "But that was early in the season. We know they are going to come and bring it to us as they will be targeting this game as well.
"But it would be nice to finish off with two wins over Moseley."
Canadian Beukeboom is one of the few Albion players who has been quite happy with the cold weather this week.
What Albion's players have not been so happy about this season has been the amount of rain for their home games.
Beukeboom said: "Hopefully, it won't be raining this week, but we will be prepared either way."
Albion: 15 Rhodri McAtee, 14 Toby Howley-Berridge, 13 Keni Fisilau, 12 Bevon Armitage, 11 Tom Bowen, 10 Paul Roberts, 9 Paul Rowley, 1 Jack Andrew, 2 Jon Vickers, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 4 Brett Beukeboom, 5 Rupeni Nasiga, 6 Sean-Michael Stephen (c), 7 Sam Hocking. 8 .Aaron Carpenter
Reps: Ruairi Cushion, Jack Arnott, Ben Rogers, David Morton, Tom Cowan-Dickie, Herbie Stupple, Sam Matavesi