Plymouth Albion's Nat Saumi says Bedford game can be a turning point
PLYMOUTH Albion coach Nat Saumi is hoping for the second time this season a match against Bedford can be a turning point for his team.
When Albion played Bedford at the start of October it proved to be a turning point for the wrong reasons.
Albion headed to Goldington Road full of confidence having won four of their opening five Championships matches.
But the team’s belief took a massive knock when Bedford ran in eight tries to hammer them 55-17.
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Albion have won just one league game since then – a narrow 24-20 victory over London Scottish on November 9.
Saumi’s side have not won a game of any kind in 2013, but he hopes it will come this weekend when Bedford visit Brickfields and that it can be a springboard for the team to go on and claim a few more in their remaining matches.
“We were on a good run up until we played them up there,” said Saumi.
“But what we are going through at the moment, hopefully, it could be the other way around this time.
“The boys have been playing well but they have still not managed to get a win, but, hopefully, they will come up with something on Saturday.”
Saumi says his team have not forgot what happened to them at Goldington Road.
“We have gone through that first game we played against them,” he said.
“Any mistakes we made we got punished.
“They have loads of experienced players in the Championship and that is why they are second in the table.
“They are a very, very good team.
“They have got their confidence up. Many of their players have been together for a number of years, so it will be difficult for us. It is going to be a very tough game for us.
“We have to be very clinical with our attacks and defensive wise, because if we make any mistakes we will be punished.”
Although Bedford will be a formidable test, Saumi says his team go into tomorrow’s match with some confidence after encouraging performance at Rotherham and Leeds.
They lost by just two points at Leeds and three at Rotherham, where they also scored four tries.
“The team are on a high after the last two performances away in Yorkshire, which is always a tough environment to go into,” said Saumi.
“For the team to come back having managed to get three points from those two games has given the players confidence.”
Bedford may sit second in the table but they have found it tough against some of the lower half teams away from home.
They lost at London Scottish, sneaked a late one point win at bottom club Doncaster, drew at Rotherham and were pushed hard by Jersey.
“They lost at London Scottish,” said Saumi. “Nottingham, who were second last week, also lost at Scottish, so the top teams can be beaten. Sometimes teams take the bottom four lightly and if you do that you could be in for a surprise.
“But I think they (Bedford) know coming to Brickfields is always a tough challenge for them.”
Albion make two changes – both in the front-row – to their team that narrowly lost at Rotherham last week.
Lloyd Fairbrother is struggling with a hamstring problem, so David Morton comes in at tight-head prop, while Jack Andrew takes over from Ben Rogers at loose-head.
Saumi said: “Lloyd Fairbrother is struggling with his hamstring and we don’t know whether he will be available or not.
“Morts will go to tight-head and we have brought Jack Andrew in as he has not had a game for a couple of weeks so is fresh.
“Ben Rogers has had two good games and done very well. It’s been good experience for him.”
Albion starting line-up
15 Rhodri McAtee
14 Lewis Warner
13 Toby Howley-Berridge
12 Bevon Armitage
11 Tom Bowen
10 Paul Roberts
9 Ruairi Cushion (c)
1 Jack Andrew
2 Jon Vickers
3 David Morton
4 Brett Beukeboom
5 Harrison Tovey
6 Sean-Michael Stephen
7 Sam Hocking
8 Aaron Carpenter
16 Paul Rowley
17 Paul Bailey
18 Ben Rogers
19 Lloyd Fairbrother/Keni Fisilau
20 Tom Cowan-Dickie
21 Rupeni Nasiga
22, Sam Matavesi