Cornish Pirates wrap up pre-season campaign with easy victory
The Cornish Pirates geared up for their RFU Championship opener against Bristol next Sunday running in ten tries in a final warm-up game against Bath University.
The match, played over three thirty minute games at the famous Recreation Ground in the city, formed part of the University`s drive to forge stronger playing links with professional clubs.
Indeed it was a return home of sorts for Bath University graduate turned Cornish Pirates prop Max Maidment, but there was no room for sentiment on an afternoon when the Cornish side fine tuned their league plans.
Head coach Ian Davies had warned in the build-up to the game that his team would try “certain things” and play in a “certain way” for their “own benefit only” and he was happy with what the squad gained from the fixture.
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“It was about giving game time to people like Laurie McGlone and Gavin Cattle so that they could run around a lot and pick up a big chunk of fitness,” he said.
“One of our main objectives was to be involved in a fairly frenetic and fast-paced game without the risk of flaring up injuries or picking up fresh ones due to high levels of physicality,” he explained.
And he added: “The game turned out to be very fast and furious with the Students running it from everywhere. Everyone had to do a lot of running because there was little kicking and minimal dead time in the game.”
The Pirates came through the fixture with only Tom Hendrickson added to their injury list as he picked up a dead leg late in the game. The summer recruit had been in line to feature in the Exeter Braves A League game against Saracens tonight but is now rated by Davies as “very doubtful”.
Front row duo Peter Joyce and Mike Roach have gone out on loan ahead of the start of the Championship season with Joyce going to Taunton Titans for a month and Roach off to Polson Bridge to link up with the Cornish All Blacks.
Davies is still keen to sign wing James Tincknell after the former Leeds man impressed during pre-season and he is hoping that a deal can be concluded soon. But now the focus turns quickly to next weekend`s big game and the Pirates boss thinks Bristol deserve their billing as promotion favourites.
“They are going to be right up there certainly,” he said. “They are an experienced side at this level and know that you don`t have to win the league in phase one to get promoted. They will see it as the marathon it is and they have certainly got the budget to back their plans.”
“In Andy Robinson and Sean Holley they have hugely experienced and well regarded coaches and the club has the financial firepower to make sure they stay on track if they lose a few games.”
“They weren`t a bad side last year and Sunday`s double header will be a fantastic occasion.”
Cornish Pirates: Pope, Holland, Fatialofa, James, Jones, Goss, Cattle (capt); Andrew, Carpenter, Maidment, Graulich, Johnson, Bolwell, Morgan, McGlone
Replacements (all used): Prescott, Elloway, Channon, Davies, Barry, Hendrickson, Bodilly, Tincknell, Hallett, Kessell.
Tries: Holland (3), Carpenter (2), James, Johnson, Kessell, Goss, Hallett;
Cons: Holland (2), Kessell, Hallett.
Referee: Nick Williams (RFU)