Cattle acknowledges Pirates' need for improvement despite derby win
Cornish Pirates skipper Gavin Cattle admits his side will need to make big improvements to maintain their winning start to the Championship season.
The Penzance-based side were below par against Plymouth Albion over the weekend, despite winning the game 19-17 at Mennaye Field.
Sunday's victory came after a successful opening-day win in Jersey, but Cattle and his team-mates realise tougher fixtures lie ahead in their league programme.
The Pirates travel to the Memorial Stadium this coming weekend to take on Bristol, the side they beat in the Championship semi-finals last season.
Cattle's men then host title favourites Newcastle Falcons the following weekend before a testing away game in South Yorkshire against Doncaster Knights.
Cattle declared: "Bristol will certainly bring a lot of intensity after what happened last year, and we have to lift ourselves.
"For some reason we were not at full pace against Plymouth Albion, but I'm sure we'll get that beaten out of us in training this week," the Cornish club's captain added.
Albion controlled much of the game against their hosts last Sunday, scoring three tries to the Pirates' two, and they could have put themselves beyond reach had fly-half Paul Roberts scored with more than one kick at goal from a possible six.
The Pirates were able to keep within reach through some clinical finishing from wing Matt Evans, before on-loan full-back Rob Cook scored the match-winning penalty in the final minutes.
Cattle said: "Plymouth definitely dominated possession and the pace of the game. Tempo-wise, it was not a tough game, but the harder thing was defending for long periods.
"We have to give credit to Plymouth, they kept the ball really well and controlled the pace.
"We got a try and we got in the right areas to win the game. People will say we were fortunate to win, and maybe we were.
"We need to step up our intensity in attack by about ten-fold – that was pretty poor from us. They let us off. The penalties in the first half would have given them a bit of a cushion at half-time, but that's rugby."
Cattle praised the impact made by the Pirates' replacements Joe Buckle, Max Maidment and Aaron Penberthy in the second half.
Buckle and Maidment were late additions to the Pirates' match-day squad, both on loan from Bath.
Penberthy, who played a starring role for the Pirates in last season's Championship final with London Welsh, came on as a replacement for fellow fly-half Kieran Hallett.
Cattle said: "We struggled a little bit, but the pleasing thing was the replacements came on and didn't try to force the game. It was quite a mature performance for the last quarter of an hour, we didn't panic, and we kicked in the right areas.
"We are just really pleased to come away with the win. We are not so pleased with the performance but it is something to work on. It is only the second game of the season," Cattle concluded.