Plymouth Albion R.F.C.
|Full name||Plymouth Albion Rugby Football Club|
|Ground(s)||The Brickfields (Capacity: 8,500)|
|League(s)||National League 1|
Plymouth Albion Rugby Football Club are a rugby union club who play in Plymouth, England. The present club was founded in 1920 from a merger between Plymouth RFC (founded 1876) and Devonport Albion RFC (founded 1876). Since 2003 they have played their home games at The Brickfields stadium. Albion's traditional strip and club colours are white, strawberry (red or cherry) and green.
Formed 1876, the club played at South Devon Place. In 1912, the Northern Union attempted to form a Western League of clubs in Devon and Cornwall. Huddersfield beat Oldham 31–26 in an exhibition game at South Devon Place in front of 8,000 spectators and as a result a meeting was held and the Plymouth Northern Union club was formed. In July, the Northern Union club took over South Devon Place and as a result Plymouth RFC disbanded, later to re-emerge as part of a merger with Devonport Albion to become Plymouth Albion.
Devonport Albion RFC
Albion was formed in 1876 from apprentices at Devonport Dockyard and originally played at Devonport Park. After moving to Bladderly in 1887 they then moved to Home Park in 1893. The club stayed at Home Park for one season only, returning to Bladderley Lane in 1894, then, in 1896, Albion took a 14-year lease of Rectory grounds, (the current home of Devonport Services R.F.C.).
Devonport Albion continued at the Rectory until it merged with Plymouth RFC to become Plymouth Albion and moved in 1920 to Beacon Park. In 2003, they moved from the run-down Beacon Park ground to a newly built ground, The Brickfields, in Devonport. The Brickfields also has an adjacent athletics stadium.
Albion were a major force in English rugby union in the 1920s having five internationals on their books at one time. Around this time they attracted a crowd of 18,000 to a midweek game against Oxford University which established a record crowd for a club match in England which was not exceeded until the 1980s.
They were promoted to National Division One in 2002, and finished third in the 2003–04 season. Observers say it was Plymouth Albion's best position nationally since the 1920s. On their way to promotion, the team went on a two season unbeaten streak of over 50 games, starting when the club was in Division Three South and ending after their promotion to National Division One.
The major local rivals are Exeter Chiefs who also have an impressive new stadium at Sandy Park perched above the services junction of the M5. Devon local derbies have become major popular events. Together these clubs have reinvigorated the passion for rugby in the county.
Albion currently play in the National League 1, the third tier of English club rugby. The club have financial problems and only avoided entering administration early in 2015 following a cash injection of £250,000 by local businesses. Albion entered administration on 8 April 2016 and were deducted 30 pts by the RFU. Following administration they were taken over by former players, Bruce Priday and David Venables who put forward a business case to the RFU.
- Devon Senior Cup winners (23): 1889, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1895, 1905, 1906, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1921, 1974, 1977, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988
- Devon RFU Junior Cup winners: 1893 (reserve side)
- Courage League Division 3 champions: 1988–89
- National Division 3 South champions: 2000–01
|Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Points for||Points against||Points diff||Try bonus||Losing bonus||Points|
|9||Darlington Mowden Park||29||13||1||15||669||750||−81||9||5||68|
Green background is the promotion place. Pink background are relegation places.
Updated: 22 April 2017
Source: "National League 1". NCA Rugby.
2016-17 Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.
Notable former players
- Martin Schusterman – Argentinean International flanker
- Aaron Carpenter – Canadian International flanker
- Justin Mensah-Coker – Canadian International wing
- Graham Dawe – Former England International hooker
- Dan Ward-Smith – England number 8
- Rupeni Nasiga – Fiji International lock
- Nat Saumi – Fiji international full back
- Jané du Toit – Namibian International prop
- David Palu – Tongan International scrum half
- William Davies – Wales International centre
- Rory Watts-Jones – Wales 7's International player
- Tom Bowen – Current England 7's International player
- McCormack, Stephen (2001). The Official RFU Club Directory 2001-2002. Harpenden: Queen Anne Press. pp. 265–270. ISBN 1 85291 640 0.
- Walrond, Nigel (26 June 2016). "Albion appoint first female chairman in club's history". Sunday Independent (Plymouth). p. 60.
- Marsh, Paddy (19 April 2015). "It's all over for Albion". Cornwall Independent.
- "Plymouth Albion: Troubled club avoids administration". BBC Sport. 2015-01-29. Retrieved 2015-02-07.
- "Plymouth Albion taken over by David Venables and Bruce Priday". BBC Sports. 8 April 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
- Walrond, Nigel (8 May 2016). "Albion could face huge drop if RFU rejects business plan". Sunday Independent (Plymouth). p. 60.
- "DRFU Handbook 2011-12" (PDF). Devon RFU. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
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