Duncan delighted to impress coach Davies on debut for Cornish Pirates
Tom Duncan will try telling you otherwise, but there was a sense of anticipation building around Mennaye Field as he stepped on to the field for his Cornish Pirates debut last Sunday.
The back-row forward has been a revelation at Redruth since filling the void left by the talismanic Mark Bright.
It was Bright's move to Championship side London Scottish in 2011 that allowed the former Redruth colt to become a man. In the 2011-12 season, Duncan scored 18 tries in 29 National League Two South appearances. He is currently the top scorer in the division this term, with 13 touchdowns.
It was enough to catch the eye of Pirates' head coach Ian Davies, who signed the player in December on a part-time contract until the end of the season. Now, after just 33 minutes of game-time against Dundee High in the British and Irish Cup last weekend, Davies hopes to offer Duncan a more substantial opportunity next season.
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He said: "I think Tom did really well. He had a lot of game-time in the second half. He was good off the base of the scrum and carried really well. For a guy who is only training one day a week with us, there is definitely something about him.
"Hopefully we'll get an opportunity to offer him a better contract next year so he can train a little bit more with us. We'd like to get his conditioning right and also the game-play as well, so he understands a bit more about how we do things and so he can be a major part of the games."
Duncan is grateful for the chance at the Pirates and enjoyed playing his part in their 34-14 victory last weekend.
The 22-year-old also thanked his new team-mates for making life as easy as possible since signing for the club. He will still spend the majority of the season on loan to Redruth but will train with Pirates every Wednesday.
He said: "I'm thankful to Ian Davies and the other coaches and I just hope I've done enough for them to want to see me again. I really enjoyed it, Dundee were a good side, but I was playing with a some great boys on my side.
"They have been really good to me; they have all introduced themselves and have helped me out when I've been unsure of certain things.
"They do have a lot of calls and get a lot of time to work on things, which means I always have to try and catch up a little bit. To be fair, the guys down here have been brilliant."
Duncan proved his ability to learn fast as the successor to Bright at Redruth. But now he could be facing players of that ability every week.
"With Brighty being there at Redruth, people expected a lot from a No.8," said Duncan. "To fill that Redruth shirt, you have to give everything. It prepared me a little bit but this is a step up again – two leagues higher – and all the players are of Brighty's calibre.
"There is a little bit less expectation on me here, nobody knows who I am. I just have to work hard and hopefully earn a spot in the team."
Duncan is set to remain with the Pirates over the coming weeks before returning to Redruth on loan. He should feature against Carmarthen Quins, in the Penzance side's final Pool Three match this weekend, when another good performance might put him in a stronger position for a full-time contract in the summer.
He said: "At the moment, I'm here just until the end of the season. I've just signed until May doing Wednesdays and games. Hopefully, I can do well and then we'll see what happens. I'm not thinking too far ahead. Hopefully, I've got another game with these guys next week. I want to play well and then, hopefully, make it a hard call for the coaches."