Hull make the long journey to Plymouth looking for their first win of the season after six successive defeats. That statistic tells only a small part of the story of the season so far.
Hull can rightly point to the fact that have been scoring plenty of tries and should have won two games but for errors made, perhaps under the pressure of being so close to victory.
Hull have done more than enough to know that they can compete in this league, and whilst some sides are clearly in the promotion class and very difficult to beat, Hull are getting up to speed in many areas of their game so as to pose problems for most, if not all sides in this division.
Their scrummage has caused every side problems. Their lineout has now begun to function well. There are players coming back from injury and a better squad is available to select from and the bench a has more solid and balanced appearance.
One example of this was the re-emergence, after injury this season of centre Ali Heard who last week not only put in his characteristic tackling stint, but made several breaks bursting through and getting beyond the gain line.
Hull’s players have been determined to give of their best in every game, but have had to come up against the harsh reality that at this level small errors of judgement or tactics can be costly.
This week Hull face Plymouth who have won three games against Taunton, Esher and Chinnor and occupy a mid-table spot in the league. They have had close games against the sides they have lost to, but have not got the better of the sides above them in the league and have yet to play Rosslyn Park and Rams who sit at the top of the league whereas Hull have played both.
The conclusion might well be they are going to be a tough test for Gary Pearce’s side, but if Hull can play to their strengths Plymouth are beatable.
Hull look likely to be without scrum half Harvey Harding but they have a more than able deputy in Rob Watts to call upon. The back division that played last week with Mike Adlard’s pace coming from full-back making life difficult for Leeds, could be retained although centre Steve Johnson may return to the squad.
The pack has been bolstered since the return of captain Cam Curry, particularly at the lineout, where the options now available, have seen the side secure a good supply of ball from that phase of the game.
Add to that a secure scrummage that tends to dominate as the game progresses and there are all the elements needed to give Plymouth a lot to think about. Hull are playing well enough, as last week’s encouraging performance demonstrated, to get a first win if they can remain fully focused and take all their scoring chances.