Declan Cusack relishing making his Plymouth Albion home debut against Jersey
DECLAN CUSACK will make his Plymouth Albion home debut tomorrow when they entertain Jersey in a vital Championship match at Brickfields (3pm).
The former Munster back joined Albion last week from Spanish side Bizkaia Gernika.
He did come on as a replacement for the final 13 minutes of Albion's defeat at Nottingham last weekend.
But tomorrow he will make his first start, lining up at full-back against second-from-bottom Jersey in a match Albion need to win to avoid being dragged into a relegation fight.
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Cusack is relishing the prospect of playing at Brickfields for the first time and, hopefully, helping Albion their first league win in four months.
"It was good to come on and play a bit last weekend," said the Irishman.
"I have now had a full week's training with the team and I am just looking forward to the game."
Cusack added: "I had played at Nottingham before and it is a really weird place to play, but I am looking forward to seeing what it is like here at Brickfields.
"Paul Rowley has told me it is really good to play here, so I am looking forward to it and, hopefully, we can get a win in what is a big game."
Cusack certainly made an impression when he came on at Nottingham last weekend.
Albion were 30-10 down when he took to the field but they scored two late tries, one of which Cusack converted, to make the scoreline more respectable at 30-22.
Cusack said: "In the last 10-15 minutes of that game we had a lot of ball, so it was quite easy to show up. In the first 60 minutes I don't think we had the ball, so it was a little bit easier when I came on, but it was good."
Cusack will find out today if he will also be handed the kicking duties tomorrow.
Coach Nat Saumi has yet to decide between him and regular kicker Paul Roberts, who will start at fly-half.
"It has still not been decided yet," said Cusack. "It is whatever Nat decides on the day, but I am comfortable doing it."
Cusack says it is unlikely any of his family and friends will make it over to Plymouth in time for tomorrow's match.
"I don't think anyone will be over this weekend as it is a bit short notice," he said. "Maybe for the Bristol away game they might come."
Cusack may have only played 13 minutes of Championship rugby, but he already knows it is a tough league.
"I had played in the B&I Cup against some of the teams, so I had an idea of what was like," he said.
"I think it is a really strong league. There are a lot of good players who have come through the league in the last three of four years and there are still a lot of good players in it."
Cusack follows in footsteps of a number of Irish players to move to Albion hoping to make a name for themselves in English rugby.
Paul Rowley, Ruairi Cushion, Mick McGrath, Davy McGregor, Robin Copeland, Fionn McLoughlin, Gavin O'Meara, David Delaney and Tom Hayes have all moved from Ireland to England in recent years and tried their luck at Albion.
"I am actually surprised it has not happened more (players moving from Ireland to England) because it is so close," said Cusack.
"There are a lot of players in Ireland but with only four (pro) teams it is hard for people to make their mark.
"The Championship is a great breeding ground.
"You look at Tom Hayes and Gareth Steenson at Exeter and they have done really well, and they started in the Championship.
"The Championship is a really good place to play and, hopefully, I can take my opportunity."