Rugby: Dunne takes heat off Bournemouth

Bournemouth Echo: In charge: Budge Pountney In charge: Budge Pountney

HEAD coach Paul Dunne insists there is no pressure on Bournemouth ahead of their crunch clash with basement boys Exmouth on Saturday (2.30pm).

The National Two South’s bottom two go head-to-head at Chapel Gate with Lions looking to take full advantage of facing the only team below them in the standings.

However, despite a 16-point gap to league safety, Budge Pountney’s right-hand man says the players are relaxed ahead of a fixture which will undoubtedly shape the rest of Bournemouth’s season.

Asked whether the match was a must-win game, Dunne told the Daily Echo: “As much as we try not to look at it like that, we are aware that we are running out of games.

“But we don’t really feel any pressure because we are just looking to try and make the performances better each week and we are confident results will come if we achieve that.

“At the moment, we are not worrying too much about what happens elsewhere, we can only focus on what we do and there is a good mood in the camp. Everyone seems okay.

“We can’t assume anything.

Exmouth beat us earlier in the season and we expect a tight, close affair with neither team likely to run away with it.

“They will have targeted this as one to win as much as we have and from what I recall from their place, they have a big physical pack and use the forwards a lot.

“A lot has changed since then, though, and it is difficult to know how a team in their position will approach things.

They may come out with nothing to lose and play and open game so we will be drilling the lads to expect the unexpected.”

Meanwhile, Dunne believes Bournemouth can still avoid the drop.

“We will keep going until it is mathematically impossible and it is not beyond hope,” he added.

“The teams above us are not winning and seem to be stuck around the 50-point mark, so if we can win four, maybe five of the last seven, we stand a chance.”

Rob Fuller, who was sent off against Clifton last weekend, serves a one-match ban but Dunne expects Lions to name an otherwise unchanged squad.

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