Cornish Pirates aim to replicate Munster cup win
WHILE a play-off spot in the RFU Championship may now be beyond the Cornish Pirates, they do have a massive opportunity to reach the last four of the British & Irish Cup on Sunday when they face Munster 'A' at the Mennaye Field (3pm), writes Dick Straughan.
The match is a repeat of the 2010 Final when the Pirates beat a strong Irish side at Camborne 23-14 and they repeated the feat in a game in the group stages last season, winning 10-6 at a wet and windy Clonmel.
The Pirates returned to action after an enforced three week lay-off last weekend, losing at home to Bedford (match report, page 78) but played well in patches.
Assistant coach Harvey Biljon was left to rue the error count against his side which ultimately cost the Pirates the game and he knows that the Munster test will be just as stern.
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He said: "Our unforced errors were what ultimately led to Bedford winning last Sunday but we have a focus on Munster now and need to make sure that we look after the bodies this week, and make sure that we are in a position to really perform.
"Munster can certainly play a bit and we have always had tough battles against them. We will do as much research on them as we can but any Munster team you play will always be tough."
He added: "Players can go through their whole careers without ever being in a position to win silverware so you have to make sure that you cherish those opportunities when they come. We have got one on Sunday."
The Pirates were delighted to welcome fly-half Jonny Bentley back to the team last weekend and it has been confirmed by the club that the ankle injury he sustained late in the first half is "not serious".
Bentley will be assessed by the medical team this week before a decision is made on his participation against the Irish provincial side.
Prop Ben Prescott was forced off with a torn calf muscle which could end his season but Laurie McGlone came through his return to action after six weeks out with a head injury.
Ben Maidment is nearing a return to action after a hamstring problem while Aaron Penberthy, Ryan Storer and Wes Davies may also be back in contention.
Munster have a dilemma in so far as their senior side are also in action against Harlequins in a quarter-final of the Heineken Cup on Sunday.
Cornish Pirates (from): Riley, Fatialofa, Hallett, Bedford, Andrew, Elloway, Lyons, Storer, Semmens, Barry, Kessell, Cheesman, Joyce, Mercer, Davies, Marriott, Tyas, Hambly, Duncan, Evans, Pointer, Johnson, Smith, Penberthy, Cook, McGlone, Hill, Kilmartin, Bentley, Burgess.
Pirates youngster Jack Stanley played for England U16s in a 24-20 defeat to Italy at Lichfield on Sunday.
Jack, a student at Helston Community College was solid in the scrum, made good tackles and also contributed in helping set up England's first try.
The Pirates U16s and Exeter Chiefs Academy player is with the England camp in Loughborough ahead of Saturday's game against Wales at Oxford.
More local rugby, page 79.