Cornish Pirates recall Redruth ace Tom Duncan for long trip to Rotherham
Cornish Pirates head coach Ian Davies has made two changes to his starting line-up ahead of Saturday`s RFU Championship game against Rotherham Titans at Clifton Lane (3pm), writes Dick Straughan.
On the wing Ben Mercer is recalled in place of Ashley Smith who registered his first two tries for the Cornish side last time out against Moseley, and there is one change in the back row where Bath loanee James Tyas replaces the injured Phil Burgess.
Tom Duncan is recalled from Redruth to take the place of Tyas on the replacement bench, with Junior Fatialofa in for Wes Davies after recovering from a viral infection.
Gavin Cattle will lead the Pirates on a ground where they haven`t lost for two years, but replacement scrum-half Chris Cook could well make his debut from the bench during the game after missing out a fortnight ago.
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The Titans, meanwhile, have made four changes to the starting 15 that ran out 25-19 winners over local rivals Doncaster Knights at Castle Park last time out.
Due to injuries within the Titans squad at hooker, Alistair Thomson has been drafted in from local rivals Doncaster Knights and gets a spot on the bench.
In the backline Lee Blackett and Joel Gill form a new centre partnership, meaning former Cornish All Black centre Pale Nonu and Eamonn Sheridan form part of a formidable bench. In the pack, Joe Ellyatt and Toby Freeman return to the side in the back row as Latu Makaafi and Carl Kirwan suffer with minor injuries.
Titans Head Coach Alex Codling said: "We know there's no easy game in the Championship and particularly no game against Cornish Pirates ever is.
"We haven't beaten the Pirates in our last seven attempts, so we know we are in for a tough afternoon's work. Down there earlier in the season they gave us a bit of a beating and we know we're going to have to be on the money if we are going to get a result on Saturday.
"However, we've started to play some open, attractive rugby in the last few weeks and weather depending on Saturday that will be our aim again. If the weather's not ideal then we'll need to ensure that we don't do anything silly in our own half."
He added: "In tough conditions it's about field position, you can still play the type of rugby you want to, you just need to make sure it's in the right areas of the field and I believe if we get that right we have a great opportunity to turn the Pirates over."
Rotherham Titans: Garry Law (capt), Mike Doneghan, Joel Gill, Lee Blackett, Curtis Wilson, James McKinney, Charlie Mulchrone, Marshall Gadd, Ted Stagg, Gareth Denman, Ben Thomas, Dan Sanderson, Alex Rieder, Joe Ellyatt, Toby Freeman. Replacements: Alistair Thomson, Jamie Kilbane, Ross Davies, Pale Nonu, Laurence Pearce, Eamonn Sheridan, Jimmy Williams.
Cornish Pirates: Pointer, Mercer, Riley, Bedford, Evans, Penberthy, Cattle (capt); Storer, Tanner, Joyce, Lyons, Johnson, Tyas, Cheesman, Marriott
Replacements: Prescott, Elloway, Barry, Duncan, Cook, Hallett, Fatialofa.
Referee: S Harding (RFU).