Albion crash at Rotherham in cup
Rotherham...59 Plymouth Albion...26
PLYMOUTH Albion crashed to a third defeat in as many weeks when they were well beaten by Rotherham in their second British & Irish Cup Pool Seven match.
Albion made wholesale changes for the game and their makeshift team were no match for an inspired Rotherham side, who ran in nine tries in front of their own fans.
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It was the most number of points Albion had conceded in more than 13 years.
However, Albion did return with at least a bonus point from the heavy defeat as they did score four tries courtesy of Tom Bowen (2), Paul Bailey and Jamie Salter.
Albion made nine changes to their team that had narrowly lost to Munster A in last week's opening British & Irish Cup fixture.
Among the players coming into the side included loanees Will Carrick-Smith and Freddie Gabbitass and Sam Jones, who was also making his debut.
Carrick-Smith started in the second-row, Gabbitass – son of former Albion back Charlies – lined up at fly-half and Jones began on the wing.
There was also a first Albion start for summer signing Harrison Tovey, while prop Ben Rogers was making his first start of the season.
Rotherham also made changes. They included six players in their starting line-up who have yet to play for them in the Championship.
Albion made a good start and they had the chance to take the lead in the third minute when they were awarded a penalty in 35 metres out in front of the posts. However, Gabbitass, on his debut, missed the kick at goal.
But Albion did take the lead in the 10th minute. After intense pressure Tom Bowen, back in the team after injury, scored in the corner. Gabbitass converted to make it 7-0.
However, that try seemed to spring Rotherham into action and they scored four tries in a row to take 21 point lead.
Their first came in the 17th minute when Doneghan went over after Albion had been penalised for a forward pass in their own 22. Rotherham fly-half James McKinney converted to level the scores.
And Rotherham scored again straight from the restart.
Albion kicked the ball straight out and the kick-off, giving Rotherham a scrum on halfway and the home side went and scored from the set piece with scrum-half Charles Mulchrone making the break before putting his brother Fergus in to score. McKinney again converted.
Rotherham had their tails up, but they wasted two gilt-edged chances to score a third try.
First McKinney knocked on right on the line and then Lee Blackett had an effort ruled out for a foot in touch.
But eventually the third try they had been threatening did come in the 37th minute when Doneghan went over again after good play by Fergus Mulchrone. McKinney again converted to make it 21-7.
And in the 40th minute Rotherham secured the bonus point when Doneghan went over for his hat-trick after intense pressure by the home side. McKinney converted to make it 28-7.
But Albion got a lifeline when Bowen scored a second try deep in injury time after a good break by Paul Bailey from a quick tap penalty. Gabbitass added the conversion to make the half-time score 28-14.
Rotherham, though, started the second half on fire and scored two quick tries through powerful centre Eamonn Sheridan. McKinney converted one of them to make it 40-14.
Bailey did give Albion some hope with a third try in the 49th minute but Rotherham responded with two more quick tries through Charlies Mulchrone and replacement hooker Ted Stagg. That made it 52-19.
Albion never let their heads drop and replacement hooker Jamie Salter went over from a catch-and-drive move in the 65th minute to earn the visitors a bonus point. Bailey brilliantly converted.
But the last word went to Rotherham with Lee Blackett scoring and McKinney converting.
Albion were actually lucky the home side did not top 60 points.
Nat Saumi's side will need to regroup now for next week's important league game at home to Nottingham.
ROTHERHAM: 15 Fergus Mulchrone, 14 Ed Styles, 13 Eamonn Sheridan, 12 Lee Blackett, 11 Michael Doneghan, 10 James McKinney, 9 Charles Mulchrone, 1 Marshall Gadd, 2 Jan-Francois Bester, 3 Gareth Denman, 4 Toby Freeman, 5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Nile *****s, 7 Joe Ellyatt, 8 Rory Pitman. Reps: Ted Stagg, 17 Ross Davies, 18 James Kilbane, 19 Carl Kirwan, 20 Alex Rieder, 21 Joel Gill, 22 James Williams.
ALBION: 15 Paul Bailey, 14 Sam Jones, 13 Toby Howley-Berridge, 12 Keni Fisilau, 11 Tom Bowen, 10 Freddie Gabbitass, 9 Ruairi Cushion (capt), 1 Ben Rogers, 2 Tom Cowan-Dickie, 3 Jack Andrew, 4 Will Carrick-Smith, 5 Ien Ascroft-Leigh, 6 Sam Matavesi, 7 Wayne Sprangle, 8 Harrison Tovey. Repss: 16 Joe Bartlett, 17 Lewis Warner, 18 Sam Hocking, 19 Ryan Hopkins, 20 Jamie Salter, 21 Rupeni Nasiga, 22 Bevon Armitage.
REFEREE: Johanne Van Der Merwe (Scotland)
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