Buckland breathes sigh of relief as under-performing Rosslyn Park hold on to scrape win at Plymouth Albion

Plymouth Albion 15-16 Rosslyn Park

Rosslyn Park coach James Buckland was a relieved man when the full-time whistle went at the end of their nervy win at Plymouth Albion.

Rosslyn led 13-0 early in the second period thanks to tries from Alex MacKenzie and débutante winger Andrew Henderson.

However, Plymouth, who were relegated from the Rugby Championship last season, came back strongly in the second half and almost stole victory through two late tries from Sam Shepherd and captain Jake Murphy.

Swirling winds had a big effect at the Recreation Ground and Plymouth had the second-half advantage, but Park held on to keep their 100% winning record, although Buckland was frustrated with their overall display.

He said: “I think that if the game had gone on for a few minutes later we would be talking about a different result.

“In the first 40 minutes we played well but the breeze affected the game for both sides.

“In the second half they had the advantage and we fell off some tackles. We had to suck up a lot of physicality.

“We should have scored more points in the first half but didn’t make the most of our chances.

“The performance overall wasn’t good enough but it was a good result. To get four points when we’re not at our best is a good sign.”

Park gave full debuts to Henderson, Ed Milne and Sam Stanley, who started in place of injured fly-half Scott Sneddon.

Stanley got off to a perfect start when a deep kick into Albion’s corner forced a lineout, which resulted in prop MacKenzie powering over the line from close range.

In a physical contest, Plymouth’s passing struggled for fluency while fly-half Elliot Bale missed a presentable penalty.

After the break, things got even better for Park when a neat move saw scrum-half Jack Gash break forward and supply Robinson for a simple finish, but the hosts responded with the wind now on their side.

Shepherd’s try in the 71st minute brought the score back to 13-8, but Tom Whiteley kicked a crucial 77th-minute penalty to secure Park’s win despite Murphy’s late score.

Feature image of James Buckland courtesy of London Scottish rugby, via Youtube, with thanks

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