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Rowley's return timely with fellow scrum-half Cushion doubtful

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 25, 2012

Scrum-half Paul Rowley is fit to face Plymouth Albion's Championship visitors Nottingham

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Plymouth Albion have received a major boost ahead of their Championship match with Nottingham at the weekend with the news that scrum-half Paul Rowley is fully fit.

Rowley has not played since September 22 when he fractured a small bone in his hand.

Head coach Nat Saumi said: "Paul Rowley is fine, which is good as he is an important guy in the team."

Rowley's return to fitness is timely for Albion as fellow scrum-half Ruairi Cushion is struggling to be fit for Saturday's home game.

Cushion injured his knee against Rotherham Titans last Saturday and had to come off after just 30 minutes of the 59-26 British and Irish Cup defeat in South Yorkshire.

"Ruairi took a bang on the knee," said Saumi. "There is no ligament damage, which is good. It was just a bang on the patella. But he can't really bend his knee properly so he is 50-50 for the weekend. All he can do is rest and see how it goes the rest of the week."

Albion's third-choice scrum-half Rhodri McAtee has been out with a groin injury. He is set to return to training this week but Saumi does not expect him to be fit for the weekend.

"He is still struggling, so it might be another week or so," said the Albion boss. However, forwards Wayne Sprangle and Tom Cowan-Dickie, who also came off against Rotherham with knocks, should be fit.

Nottingham, like Plymouth, are returning to Championship fare after a fortnight of British and Irish Cup action. The East Midlands side have not done well so far in the competition, losing 28-21 at Llandovery and then going down 27-13 to Doncaster Knights at Meadow Lane last weekend.

Coach Martin Haag has shouldered the blame for the results which have seen his languish at the bottom of Pool Eight of the cross-border tournament. He has admitted that the decision to use the Cup to blood young talent and test the depth of his squad to the fullest came at a cost to Nottingham's hopes in the competition.

"I tried a few different combinations, a few young lads, a few guys who had not played too much rugby, a few guys started out of position, and we did a few things different in training during last week," Haag said.

"Ultimately it's my responsibility and I got it wrong and I put my hand up. There was probably too much tinkering with the side, but that is the idea of the British and Irish Cup, to give players the chance to stake a claim for their place in the first team.

"Last weekend's game [against Doncaster] was one the young guys will learn from," Haag concluded.

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