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RUGBY PREVIEW: Barnstaple determined to thrive on derby day

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 25, 2013

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Barnstaple are determined not to make the same mistakes again when they square up to Brixham in the Devon derby at Pottington Road.

Brixham won the first National Three South West encounter between the teams 28-3 – and Barum's director knows exactly why.

"We were guilty of slipshod tackling early in the game and after eight minutes had shipped two tries and were 14-0 down," said Kevin Squire.

"If we do that again we know Brixham will punish us – and the players are determined that won't happen."

Brixham's new signing Ryan Hopkins, who joined them from Plymouth Albion after eight seasons propping up the scrum, earned some rave reviews after his debut performance against Avonmouth last Saturday.

Hopkins will be a threat, but Squire believes he has the personnel to combat him up front.

"I rate our Mark Berry as the best tight-head in this division – and certainly good enough to give Ryan Hopkins a run for his money," said Squire.

Brixham are in good spirits after back-to-back wins over Avonmouth Old Boys and Amersham, but know form won't count for too much in what will be a hot-house environment.

"Barnstaple are always difficult at home and reeling from a couple of defeats they are going to come at us," said assistant coach Ian Morgan.

Newton Abbot head for Weston looking to add another double to their collection. Weston are up to second in the table having won at Barnstaple last time out, while Exmouth were prevented from playing and slipped back to third.

Roy Henderson, Newton's director of rugby, said he has plenty of respect for Weston but the All Whites don't fear them.

"We have already done the league double home and away over Exmouth, another side above us in the table, and there is no reason why we can't do that again," said Henderson.

Exmouth have taken the precaution of fixing up a replacement game if their match at Amersham is called off.

If the Cockles do not go to Amersham, they will entertain University of Exeter in a training game.

Jon Hill, Exmouth's head coach, said the alternative was going into a big game against Redingensians next Saturday woefully short of match practice. There is little chance of playing up there as the temperature hasn't been above zero all week – and there is snow on the pitch," said Hill.

Taunton, who have not played for two weeks, welcome fellow National Two South strugglers Southend.

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