Cornish Pirates bid to move into play-off places with victory over Albion
Matt Evans and Junior Fatialofa will lead out the Cornish Pirates on Boxing Day against Plymouth Albion at the Mennaye Field as they each make their 50th appearances for the Cornish club, writes Dick Straughan.
Victory for the Pirates will push them into the play-off places in the Greene King Championship ahead of a tough run of fixtures in the New Year and will extend a winning record against the Devon side on home soil stretching back seven years.
Gavin Cattle skippers the Pirates for the game and amongst the other changes in the squad named by head coach Ian Davies Craig Holland is named at full-back with Kieran Goss moving to the wing.
Junior Fatialofa makes a return at centre, and in the second-row Darren Barry is named to partner Will Graulich.
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James Phillips continues at Number 8 on-loan from Exeter Chiefs with club-mate and fellow back-rower Joel Conlon returning to the bench following a spell away at an England Under-20 training camp.
For Plymouth Albion the only change in the backs is the return of top try scorer Tom Bowen who replaces Lewis Warner.
In the front row dual registered hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie has recovered from injury and comes in for Max Crumpton, who last week signed for Harlequins.
It is all change in the second row where on loan Exeter Chiefs lock Romana Graham makes his league debut for Albion.
Graham is partnered in the engine room by Canadian international Brett Beukeboom, who missed the game in Ireland with an Achilles injury.
Sean-Michael Stephen, who was rested for the Munster game, returns at flanker with skipper Rhys Oakley switching to his more familiar position of Number 8.
On the bench Albion have included Richard Bolt who has signed on loan from Exmouth as scrum half cover.
Dual registered hooker Tom Cowan-Dickie is included in the Albion squad for the first time this season having recovered from a leg injury.
Cornish Pirates:- Holland, Pope, Riley, Fatialofa, Goss, Evans, Cattle (capt); Andrew, Elloway, Prescott, Graulich, Barry, Morgan, Cheesman, Phillips
Replacements – Channon, Cahill, Patrick, Conlon, Kessell, Sinclair, Dancer
Plymouth Albion:- Woods, Bowen, Stevens, Howley-Berridge, Davies, Mugford, Cushion; Harrison, L.Cowan-Dickie, Fairbrother, Beukeboom, Graham, Stupple, Stephen, Oakley capt
Replacements - Evans, T.Cowan-Dickie, Matavesi, Langley Cusack, Bolt, Elder
Referee – D.Gamage (RFU)