Davies wary of improving Moseley
THE Cornish Pirates will look to end a run of three straight Championship defeats on Sunday when they take on relegation-threatened Moseley at the Mennaye Field (1.15pm).
With the kick-off altered to avoid a clash with the televised Six Nations game between England and Italy the Pirates desperately need a victory if they are to remain in touch with the promotion play-off battle. For Moseley the need for points is just as critical with only seven points between them and the automatic relegation place.
Bottom club Doncaster face Rotherham at Castle Park on Saturday with Jersey, in 11th, travelling to Plymouth Albion.
Pirates head coach Ian Davies knows full well that Moseley will scrap for everything come Sunday.
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He said: "It is going to be a really physical battle and they have a very good pack of forwards. They have added Sam Dickinson and then they have Ollie Thomas who is a proven goal kicker, so discipline will be key for us."
Davies has already said that team changes will be inevitable after last weekend's 37-25 loss at Leeds (report, page 82) and added that he will look at the Pirates playing style too.
"We have to change certain aspects of our game because at the moment they are not very good," he said.
In November the Pirates and Moseley battled to their third draw in successive seasons at Billesley Common in a dour 9-9 scrap.
Moseley have won three of their four league games since the turn of the year and Davies will once again have to shuffle his small squad to come up with a winning combination.
"Our hands have been tied a bit because of the number of injuries we've had although we are hoping to have a few of the boys back this week," he said. "But there will be changes to give some of the boys a chance ahead of Munster in the British & Irish Cup.
"We can't call on the Exeter dual-registered boys because they have all done really well and are now in the first team and Ollie Devoto (new loan signing from Bath) is away with England Under-20s".
Scrum-half Chris Cook who also joined on loan from Bath last week may feature although he is not due to link up with the Pirates squad until midweek but Alan Paver (bicep), Laurie McGlone (head) and Ben Maidment (hamstring) are all out.
Prop Paul Andrew is rated as doubtful after suffering a blow on his head at Leeds but if he does pass a fitness test will make his 100th appearance for the Pirates.
The club have also pencilled in a return to action for fly-half Jonny Bentley at the end of the month.
Cornish Pirates (from): Riley, Fatialofa, Hallett, Bedford, Andrew, Elloway, Prescott, Lyons, Storer, Semmens, Barry, Kessell, Cheesman, Joyce, Mercer, Davies, Marriott, Tyas, Hambly, Duncan, Evans, Pointer, Johnson, Smith, Penberthy, Cook.
Pirates news see page 118.