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Saumi happy to take one-point victory after gritty performance by Plymouth

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 17, 2012

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Nat Saumi felt his Plymouth Albion side got the bit of luck against Leeds on Saturday that they had been missing at the Cornish Pirates last week.

Albion out-scored the Pirates on tries but lost 19-17 at Mennaye Field after missing five kicks at goal and with Rob Cook kicking a late penalty for the Cornish club.

On Saturday Albion scored a try less than their opponents, but won by a single point after visiting fly-half Joe Ford failed to convert an 80th-minute kick.

Saumi, who had seen his side go 11 points down in the first half and eight points behind in the second, said: "It was a relief to win that game. Again the match showed how important goal-kicking is. They have a very good kicker but it proved to be a lucky day for us."

When asked if he felt fortune equalled itself out, Saumi said: "I just take whatever comes, that's part of life and rugby. Sometimes you win by one point and sometimes you lose by one point."

Saumi had special praise for fly-half Paul Roberts, who missed just one kick at goal after struggling with the boot in the opening two matches. "I have been working with him this week and it is about instilling that confidence and belief in him," said Saumi. "He did quite well and, hopefully, he will keep improving week after week."

In the first half, Leeds turned down three kicks at goal to go for the corner, but made a mess of all three situations. "That could have been their game plan to come and up the intensity, but we absorbed it and we give it back to them," said Saumi.

"Our first try we ran from our 22. We kept playing multi-phases and I think the boys are getting used to play all those variety of games they need to play. For them, it [not taking their kicks] came back to haunt them the way they started off. That was their game plan and we countered that very well and we came up with the result."

Saturday's match was certainly an entertaining one with nine tries on show, even though there was a lot of turnover ball.

Saumi believes changes to the rules this year are making the game faster.

"I think with the new laws of rugby, with that five seconds from contact area that is given to you, it builds up the pace of the game," he said. "But we are trying to play different types of rugby. When winter comes it will be a bit different. The most important thing is to build the confidence in the type of rugby we want to play."

Saturday's match was almost a repeat of last year's contest between Albion and Leeds that ended with Plymouth scoring four tries in a 25-20 victory.

"It is the brand of rugby we both played," said Saumi of why matches between the two clubs tend to be entertaining. "It was why the score was close. Everyone wants to score tries. We'd score one and then they'd score one and visa versa. We got five points and the boys are happy."

Saumi admitted the turning point in the game came when Albion were trailing 26-18 and Ruairi Cushion broke and put a chip kick over that resulted in Leeds giving away a penalty and having full-back Doherty sin-binned. From the penalty, Leeds then had centre sin-binned and Albion eventually got a penalty try.

"That was the crucial point of the game," said Saumi. "We were trying to play territory and put them under pressure, which we did very well."

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