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Cambridge Rugby Club captain George Bretag-Norris calls on team-mates to continue digging deep ahead of Plymouth Albion trip

Captain George Bretag-Norris has challenged his Cambridge team-mates to continue digging deep into their mental reserves as they bid to be crowned National League 1 champions.

Last week’s resounding 82-12 victory at already-relegated Hull moved Cambridge to within two bonus point wins of clinching the title and a place in next season’s Championship for the first time in the club’s history.

But on Saturday (April 22) Bretag-Norris are set to face a thorough examination of their credentials at Plymouth Albion, who are eyeing up a fourth-placed finish.

George Bretag-Norris has been looking ahead to this weekend’s trip to Plymouth Albion. Picture: Chris Fell
George Bretag-Norris has been looking ahead to this weekend’s trip to Plymouth Albion. Picture: Chris Fell

The skipper, who has made 168 appearances for the club, said: “We might be in the driver’s seat now but there is still a lot of work to be done.

“We’ll need to be mentally tough down at Plymouth to deal with their threat and a hostile crowd, but that’s something we’ve shown plenty of for much of the season.

“Before the results went our way a couple of weeks ago, we spent 10 or even 15 weeks getting no closer to our goal because Rams and Sale were not slipping up.

“That’s a real test mentally, to keep going week in and week out when you’re not making up any ground.

“Then you’ve got to take your chance when it comes, no matter how long it takes, and we’ve shown plenty of mental motivation to bide our time.”

This weekend’s Devon-based hosts are likely to be a tough nut to crack given that they have conceded the least points at home out of all the sides in the division.

But even though Cambridge will need to score four tries to keep the destination of the title in their own hands, Bretag-Norris believes showing a degree of patience will be key.

He added: “We have to be at our best tactically and physically.

“We have the talent within the squad to win games, but we’ve shown recently in our brand of rugby that we can be effectively pragmatic when we need it.

“We’ll know on Saturday that Plymouth are not a team you can blow away in the first 20 minutes of a game.

“You’ve got to meet them up front and maybe make it an attritional game before hoping to unlock them in the second half or even the last 10 minutes.

“We know that if we make mistakes they’ve got a full-back who can kick for goal from 60 metres and a driving maul that can do real damage, so we’ll need to stay patient and disciplined.”

And while it will be a very different game to last time out on the road at Hull, Bretag-Norris was pleased with the “ruthless2 nature of that performance.

“To put 80 points on any team at any level, that’s a really good achievement,” he said.

“There have been question marks on us this season about how ruthless we are so it was good to push the win out, just like we did against Leeds last time, rather than letting teams back into the game and give them encouragement.

“Those performances are a real example of how we’ve stepped things up in that sense.”

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