Deflated Pirates welcome leaders
NEWCASTLE Falcons make their first ever visit to the Mennaye Field on Sunday (3pm) as the Championship leaders test their unbeaten start to the season against the Cornish Pirates.
The Falcons have won both games on the road so far at Bristol and London Scottish and took their time to grind down Doncaster Knights at Kingston Park last weekend.
But Director of Rugby Dean Richards was ultimately happy with the 37-3 bonus point win over the Yorkshire side.
Pirates' boss Ian Davies however, faces a testing week as he looks to pick up his battered and bruised troops after Sunday's 29-17 defeat at Bristol and he admitted that the manner of the defeat in conceding 13 late points made it harder to accept.
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"We were struggling at the end and we were drowning," he said. "We hoped that the lifeboat was coming quicker than it was but it didn't appear. The try at the end was a killer blow for us and the disruption due to injuries didn't help. It certainly was painful to lose in the way that we did."
And he added: "The players were deflated and dejected at the end because we hadn't achieved what we had set out all week to do."
As well as preparing the team for one of their biggest games of the season Davies will also have to contend with an ever-increasing casualty list which saw Wes Davies (knee), Kyle Marriott (hamstring) and Matt Evans (concussion) added to it during the game at Bristol.
Prop Ben Prescott also limped off during the second half, but flanker Chris Morgan came through his first 40 minutes of action since May and Alan Paver could make a return this Sunday after a calf problem.
New Zealander Laurie McGlone is also nearing fitness and could be back in contention for the trip to Doncaster next week, but the main selection dilemma for the Pirates will come at full-back if Evans and Davies are both ruled out.
Kieran Hallett is an able deputy but the Pirates may seek to call on loanees Rob Cook or Jack Nowell amidst strong speculation that at least one more player is due to be signed imminently by the Cornish side.
Davies continued: "We will have to pick ourselves up because Newcastle will certainly be a bigger challenge than Bristol; they are a better squad of players with a lot more Premiership experience and they will be looking to get five points from every game that they play.
"We know that they have to come down to us in Penzance where we have got a proud record but it will be really hard work to try and get the victory."
Cornish Pirates (from): Bedford, Riley, Fatialofa, Evans, Hallett, Cattle (capt); Andrew, Elloway, Prescott, Lyons, Johnson, Marriott, Burgess, B.Maidment, Storer, Semmens, Morgan, Barry , Kessell, Penberthy, Cheesman, Paver, Joyce, M.Maidment, Buckle, McGlone, Nowell, Hill, Ewers