Cattle to make 200th appearance as Pirates host Ulster Ravens in B&I Cup
Gavin Cattle returns to the Cornish Pirates starting line-up for the British and Irish Cup tie against Ulster at the Mennaye Field on Friday night (7.45pm), and will lead the side as he makes his 200th appearance for the club.
The Welshman, in his second spell at the Pirates, is back to full fitness after sustaining a neck injury against Leeds last month and is one of several changes in Ian Davies' squad for the Pool 6 opener.
In the backs, wing Matt Evans returns after a hamstring strain sustained on the opening day of the season against Bristol, with Kieran Goss reverting to full-back. Rheon James starts at inside centre in place of Tom Riley, with young Australian fly-half Angus Sinclair keeping his place ahead of Kieran Hallett.
Changes in the forwards see props Kieran Davies and Ben Prescott both step up from the bench to the starting XV, while lock Will Graulich comes in for his full competitive debut in Pirates colours.
Joel Conlon is fit again and makes up the back row with Chris Morgan and Aaron Carpenter.
On the bench, two loanees are recalled with Peter Joyce back from a successful spell at Taunton and No8 Joe Atkinson returning from Bournemouth.
Cornish Pirates: Goss, Pope, Fatialofa, James, Evans, Sinclair, Cattle (capt); Davies, Channon, Prescott, Graulich, Barry, Morgan, Conlon, Carpenter. Replacements: Cahill, Joyce, Atkinson, Parker, Cheesman, Hallett, Holland.
Referee: T Foley (RFU).
* FIXTURES UPDATE: The Cornish Pirates have confirmed that besides Friday's home match with Ulster Ravens in the British & Irish Cup, their next scheduled Greene King IPA Championship home game against London Scottish will also be played on a Friday (November 1, 7.45pm).
In general, however, and following the announcement made earlier this week, the club is looking to return to play all other fixtures on Sundays for the rest of the season, with the exception of the Plymouth Albion game, which is to be played on Boxing Day.
The club will provide a further update in due course.
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British & Irish Cup 2013-2014:
This season some 32 teams compete in an expanded British & Irish Cup in the fourth year of the cross-border competition.
Title holders Munster ‘A’ were drawn in Pool 7 alongside Aberavon, Plymouth Albion and Rotherham Titans, while last year’s runners-up Cross Keys are in Pool 4 with local rivals Newport plus Connacht and Championship newcomers Newcastle Falcons.
The teams from the four home nations are drawn in eight pools of four, with only the pool winners qualifying for the knockout stages.
In addition to 12 teams being added to the competition, another format switch sees clubs now face each other home and away in the pool stages.
The participating teams comprise the 12 teams from the RFU Championship; the development teams from the four Irish provinces; the top four teams from Scotland’s RBS Premier Division 1 last season; and the 12 teams from Wales’ Principality Premiership.
Joining the competition for their debut season are Bridgend Ravens, Bedwas, Stirling County, Carmarthen Quins, Dundee HSFP, Newcastle Falcons, Jersey, and Gala.
The competition now takes place over nine rounds and will align with ERC weekends.
The pool games will take place as follows: Round 1 – 12-14 October; Round 2 – 19-21 October; Round 3 – 7-9 December; Round 4 – 14-16 December; Round 5 – 11-13 January; and Round 6 – 19 January.
The quarter-finals will be played the weekend of 5-7 April; the semi-finals 26-28 April; and the final Friday 17 May (TBC).