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RUGBY PREVIEW: Barnstaple welcome play-off chasers Weston

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 18, 2013

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Barnstaple welcome play-off chasers Weston on Saturday still smarting from a one-point defeat away to Avonmouth Old Boys.

“What hurt was it was the first game this season we expected to win that we lost,” said Barnstaple’s director of rugby Kevin Squire. “Our next game is against a team who beat Avonmouth by 50 points – not that we want to dwell on that!”

Brixham coach Dan Parkes has injected a note of caution ahead of tomorrow’s Astley Park engagement with Avonmouth Old Boys, despite a 26-22 win at Amersham last time out.

Having already lost once to Avonmouth this season, Parkes has plenty of reasons to be wary of them. “Last Saturday they beat Barnstaple so I can’t seen them being scared of coming to us,” he said.

Stuart Lowe, Bob Armstrong, Kill and Dale Sleeman all come into second-placed Exmouth’s selection discussions prior to the game against Redingensians.

Taunton face a tricky trip to second-placed Henley Hawks in National Two South short of match practice, after their game against Shelford was called off last Saturday.

Newton Abbot have re-signed utility back Sam Jones from Plymouth Albion, this time on a permanent basis.

Jones played full-back for Newton Abbot during the second half of last season, having been given permission by Albion to get in some match practice.

The former Ivybridge College student committed himself full-time to Albion this season in the unsuccessful hope of breaking into the Championship side.

The paperwork was sent off on Wednesday, too late for Jones to play in tomorrow’s game away to Malvern.

Since Jones last played for Newton Abbot, his old berth at 15 has been nailed down by Josh Smith, who heads the try-scoring list and is an early contender for Newton’s player-of-the-year award,

Roy Henderson, Newton’s director of rugby, said the versatility that probably hindered his chances at the Brickfields will be an asset at Rackerhayes.

“At Plymouth’s level it helps to be a specialist as everyone knows exactly where you fit in,” said Henderson.

“In our case we know what he can do and having Sam on board gives us a more competition for places in the back line.”

Newton thumped Malvern by 70 points when the two teams met earlier in the season, a result unlikely to be repeated tomorrow even though the Worcestershire side are languishing close to the bottom of the table.

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