Cornish Pirates ease into British and Irish Cup quarter-finals with six-try win
at Mennaye Field
The Cornish Pirates' British and Irish Cup ambitions are very much on course, following a 34-14 victory over Dundee High yesterday.
The bonus point was achieved with ease, as the Cornish side scored six tries from Sam Hill, Kieran Hallett, Phil Burgess, Wes Davies (two) and Dave Lyons at Mennaye Field.
With top spot in Pool Three – and their quarter-final place – now secure, they must try to qualify as one of the top-four group winners to ensure a home fixture when the last eight meet in April.
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Both sides played this cup game in the right spirit. It would have been easy for Dundee to use the huge trip to west Cornwall as an excuse for a poor performance.
Despite beginning their arduous journey at 4am on Saturday, they brought a bright attacking game and a lot of endeavour for the full 80 minutes yesterday.
They just ran into a Pirates' side who always had too much to offer, in all areas of the pitch. Even a drastic reshuffle to their back-line in the second half, following the withdrawal of Hallett and centre Tom Riley, failed to turn the game back in Dundee's favour.
Pirates took control right from the off and scored their first try within three minutes when centre Hill chased onto a grubber kick from Hallett. The fly-half then added the extras.
A decent spell of pressure for the visitors brought two penalties, allowing centre Jack Steele to cut Pirates' lead to a single point.
However, Pirates found the creative spark to re-establish their superiority moments later. Again, it came from the boot of Hallett, who chipped over the Dundee defence and chased the ball down himself to score his side's second try, this time without the conversion, as his kick drifted to the left of the posts.
It mattered little as Pirates were by then in full flow. A fine series of well-timed passes down the left set up No.8 Burgess for a simple touchdown under the posts, just three minutes before half-time, with Hallett converting.
The home side's momentum was only tempered slightly by the award of a penalty to Dundee just before the break, which Steele missed from distance.
It took Pirates just four minutes of the second half to get their bonus-point fourth try. It was another skilful kick from Hallett that created the opportunity, with Davies touching down on the right.
Somewhat predictably, after numerous changes in personnel, Pirates allowed Dundee a chance to regain their footing in the game. The end result was a penalty to the visitors just before the hour mark which Steele kicked through the posts for the third time.
Try number five for Pirates was soon on its way, however. The home pack found a way through in the corner with Lyons applying the finish.
Dundee got the try they deserved with just over five minutes remaining through replacement Gavin Robertson, but Steele placed his conversion wide of the posts.
Pirates completed the scoring with a fine individual score from Davies. He took a missed pass from Bedford, sent three Dundee players the wrong way, and sped into the left corner for an unconverted try.