Plymouth Albion duo to make their first start of the season
WAYNE SPRANGLE and Luke Cowan-Dickie will make their first starts of the season tomorrow night when Plymouth Albion take on visiting Rotherham at Brickfields in the Championship (7.45pm).
The pair are one of three changes Albion make to their pack after last week's narrow 24-22 win at Moseley.
Also returning to the starting XV is fit-again Lloyd Fairbrother, who will join his dual-registered Exeter team-mate Luke Cowan-Dickie in Albion's front-row.
Dropping out of the side are Jack Andrew, David Morton and Rupeni Nasiga.
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England Under-20 prop Luke Cowan-Dickie, whose brother Tom is named on Albion's bench, has not been available for the first four games of the Championship season due to injury.
But Albion coach Nat Saumi, who includes five dual-registered Exeter players in tomorrow's squad, had no qualms in bringing the highly-rated youngster straight into the team.
Ironically, Luke Cowan-Dickie's first appearance for Albion came against Rotherham away last season.
"Luke has played an A League game and so is ready to go again," said Saumi.
"He had a foot injury, that was why he has not been playing.
"But he has had a trial run and he can't wait to have a game."
Saumi admitted it was tough on Andrew and Morton to drop out, but he says they understand the situation.
"Jack Andrew has played three games in a row and that is tough," said Saumi.
"Morts (David Morton) had a game and then a rest.
"It is a long hard season and it is good to have a number of props there.
"It means the guys are fresh every time they come in.
"I have been honest with them. It is good for players to have a breather.
"We will be able to bring on fresh legs in the second half.
"Rotherham have a very big pack, so we need two front-row sets to be ready."
Albion will go with three front-rowers on the bench, but there is no place in the squad for the highly-experienced Ryan Hopkins.
Hopkins is the only first-team prop not to have started a match yet.
Saumi said: "With me it is based on fitness stats.
"But the good thing about Ryan is his experience and he is always there to help. He is always a help in training giving advice to the boys."
Meanwhile, Sprangle gets a start after coming on as replacement in Albion's last two matches.
He had missed all the club's pre-season matches due to injury.
However, he does not return to his favourite number seven shirt, instead he takes over from Nasiga at six.
"Rupeni has been struggling for a while with his quads," said Saumi.
"But we are also trying to get him to do more stuff both fitness-wise and with the structure of the game.
"He is getting there slowly, but I will use him as an impact player for the time being.
"We know Wayne Sprangle always gives his all.
"He has been waiting for a while, but he has taken his chances (coming on) in the last two games and so it will be good for him to have a start.
"He will start at six because Sam Hocking is doing very well at seven."
Canadian international captain Aaron Carpenter is back in the squad after missing the last two games due to the birth of his son.
However, Carpenter has to make do with only a place on the bench tomorrow.
Albion are struggling for scrum-half cover tomorrow.
Ruairi Cushion will start the game, but Paul Rowley is ruled out with a hand injury.
"Paul Rowley has a slight break in his hand from last Saturday," said Saumi.
"We have been told it should only be two weeks.
"We thought that he might need an operation, but the surgeon told us he didn't need one and that he will just be out for about two weeks or so.
"It is not a big break. It is just a little one. It is just painful. He could still play with it but the doctor has said he is better resting."
With Rowley unavailable, Rhodri McAtee will cover nine from the bench.
He has missed Albion's last two matches with a knee injury.
"Rhodri will be on standby," said Saumi. "He is not 100 per cent, but he can sit on the bench and do a job for us.
"Part of the reason why we signed him was that he can also cover nine."
Albion: Henry Slade, Paul Bailey, Toby Howley-Berridge, Bevon Armitage, Jack Arnott, Paul Roberts, Ruairi Cushion, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jon Vickers, Lloyd Fairbrother, Brett Beukeboom, Ien Ascroft-Leigh, Wayne Sprangle, Sam Hocking, Sean-Michael Stephen (capt). Reps: Rhodri McAtee, Keni Fisilau, Jack Andrew, Tom Cowan-Dickie, David Morton, Aaron Carpenter, Rupeni Nasiga.
FULL PREVIEW IN TOMORROW'S HERALD