Plymouth Albion's Nat Saumi waiting for news on injuries to forwards
PLYMOUTH Albion coach Nat Saumi is anxiously awaiting news on the extent of injuries picked up by forwards Aaron Carpenter and Harrison Tovey against Munster A on Friday night.
Both players had to go off in the British & Irish Cup Pool 7 match in Cork, which Munster's second string won 15-0 to guarantee their place in the quarter-finals of the competition.
Carpenter picked up a hamstring injury and came off in the 58th minute and Tovey had to leave the field in the 73rd minute with a sore neck.
Front-row forward Luke Cowan-Dickie also went off with cramp in his calf, but his injury will be less of a worry for Albion as he may not be available anyway this weekend for their vital league match with Moseley due to his commitments with England Under-20s and Exeter Chiefs.
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"We're not sure yet about the injuries," said Albion coach Saumi. "We'll have to have a look at them."
Albion would certainly like Canadian captain Carpenter available for Saturday's big Championship game with Moseley.
Albion, who have won just once league match since the end of September, cannot afford to lose to Moseley if they want to avoid a relegation dog-fight.
Saumi said: "It (Carpenter's injury) is a bit of a worry because he is one of our main ball carriers."
However, Saumi did see another one of Albion's ball carriers, Herbie Stupple, make his return from four months out with a broken shoulder on Friday in Ireland.
Stupple came on for Tovey in the closing stages of the game.
"Herbie got about nine or 10 minutes," said Saumi. "And it was good to see him back.
"I talked to him and there is confidence there. We are hoping for a big push for him coming into training this week."
Saumi felt his team performed better in Ireland against Munster A than they had done at home to Rotherham the week before, even though they did not manage a single point in Cork.
"What happened against Rotherham was our lowest performance of the season," said Saumi. "And I told the team that had to be the lowest. I said we could not be lower than that again.
"In the first half (against Munster) we were good defensively and played territory well, so at least they had listened to the coach.
"I thought we did really well first half, but we did not take our chances."
Saumi admitted not scoring when Munster were down to 13 men for nearly 10 minutes in the first half due to two sin-binnings was his team's undoing on Friday.
"I think we got over excited and thought we would just run them over," he said. "It was just over-eagerness – trying to get that score – and it came back to haunt us.
"They (Munster) took their chance when we were down a man. They did not get over excited and got their reward."
Albion have not scored a try in their last two matches.
In fact, they have only scored one since the turn of the year – that was against Leeds when their opponents were a man down.
Saumi said: "On Friday we could have managed a few tries, but it just came down to individual decision-making.
"But I have got confidence this team can score tries."
He added: "Munster are a good team. They (their first and second teams) all train together.
"In the first half we defended very well. We had good discipline in defence, but it (the result) just came down to decision-making.
"They (Munster) are one of the top teams in Europe and the difference was their decision-making."
Albion were lucky to get to Ireland on Friday.
They were on one of the last flights out of Birmingham Airport before the runway of closed. However, members of Albion's board and some fans were not so lucky. Their flight from Bristol was cancelled.