Burgess returns for Cornish Pirates against Bristol
The Cornish Pirates could begin the New Year in the play-off zone if they beat Bristol at the Mennaye Field tomorrow (2pm) and head coach Ian Davies has largely stuck with the team who beat Plymouth last week to do the job, writes Dick Straughan.
The Pirates ground out a well deserved 9-5 win in the Brickfields mud on Boxing Day and after a week of further heavy rainfall in Cornwall Davies makes just one change to his starting XV for the game.
Flanker Phil Burgess, out since the start of the month with a fractured jaw, returns in the back row in place of the impressive James Tyas in a side again skippered by Gavin Cattle. In the front row Ben Prescott partners Rob Elloway and Alan Paver.
The bench also sees just two changes with Ben Maidment returning from injury and taking over from Alex Cheesman in a five-two split in favour of the forwards. Peter Joyce is back in the squad as a front row option.
Bristol are unbeaten in all competitions since their 63-7 mauling at Nottingham in early November and have yet to win at the Mennaye Field since the Pirates returned there in 2010.
Jon Goodridge returns at full-back for his first action since with Jack Tovey switching to the wing whilst Fautua Otto is named amongst the replacements as he continues his return from injury.
The game is subject to a pitch inspection today at 2pm.
Davies, Bedford, Riley, Fatialofa, Mercer, Hallett, Cattle (capt); Andrew, Elloway, Paver, Lyons, Barry, Marriott, Burgess, McGlone
Replacements – Storer, Semmens, Prescott, Johnson, Maidment, Kessell, Hill
Goodridge, Tovey, Eves, Gadd, McIlwaine, Jarvis, Tipuna (capt); Traynor, Johnston, Hobson, Sambucetti, Townson, Faosiliva, Pennycook, Eadie
Replacements – Lawrence, Douglas, Glynn, Mama, Grindal, Roberts, Otto
Referee – S Lee (RFU).