Plymouth Albion captain Iain Grieve targets play-off spot

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Plymouth Albion captain Iain Grieve says the club can finish in the top four in the Championship

New Plymouth Albion captain Iain Grieve has said he wants to take the club into the Championship play-offs.

The Brickfields club have never finished higher than eighth since the league was restructured at the start of the 2009-10 season.

"One of the things we want to strive to do this season is achieve some greatness," Grieve told BBC Sport.

"We want to look for that top-four finish which I definitely think is achievable by this squad of players."

Back-rower Grieve after nine years at Bristol, where he made 131 appearances and scored 14 tries.

He played in the Premiership with Bristol for three seasons before they were relegated to English rugby's second tier in 2009, and was part of squads that finished in the Championship top four in four of the last five seasons.

And he says Albion can make that leap if they are professional enough.

Ian Grieve's Bristol Championship play-off history
2009-10: Lost to Exeter in first-ever play-off final
2010-11: Came bottom of their play-off group
2011-12: Lost to Cornish Pirates in the semi-finals
2013-14: Lost to London welsh in the final

"Staying fit is a massive thing, with the small squad we've got everyone's got to stay fit," the 27-year-old said.

"It's a matter of how professional you are as players to look after yourself.

"With a small group of players we've got to stick together and take each game as it comes, but it's definitely going to be an enjoyable experience I think."

Grieve takes over the captaincy from former Wales international Rhys Oakley, while Declan Cusack has been named as club captain by head coach James Shanahan.

"Iain has a lot of experience of Championship rugby and he is a natural leader," Shanahan said.

"When he talks everyone listens. When I talked to him about captaining the side he said it was an honour to be asked."

But Grieve said he tries to keep his words to a minimum and let his team-mates express themselves on the field.

"There are times when people need to say what they need to say.

"I'm the type of person that doesn't like to do a lot of talking. I feel that guys have got to let them do what they're here to do and that's play rugby.

"When it comes to key moments in games I might say a couple of things, but in all I just let guys carry on with what they need to do.

"They're here because they're good players and that's what they enjoy doing."

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