Gavin Cattle retains belief in Cornigh Pirates' progress
Cornish Pirates skipper Gavin Cattle believes his side can match anyone in the Championship ahead of their crucial New Year's Day clash with Bristol.
The Cornish side have lost just one of their last ten games in all competitions, but their recent progress will be tested when their rivals for a top-four place Bristol visit Mennaye Field on January 1.
However, Cattle is confident Pirates can reach one of the four play-off spots, having completed a league double over Plymouth Albion on Boxing Day.
He said: "We are really pleased with the progress we are making and this is the pivotal point in the season. The game against Albion was important and now Bristol is another big step.
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"If we win next week, we will have put ourselves in quite a promising position. It will depend who dictates field position and appreciates conditions on the day."
The Pirates currently lie sixth in the table but Cattle feels his side can compete for the top places, having established some consistency in recent months.
He said: "The Championship is tougher than in previous years and we have a slightly smaller squad with a lot of players on dual-registration. We have still got a good core of full-time Pirates players and, if we can keep them fit, I think we can compete with every team in this division.
"We have shown that on occasions and for us it is now about finding consistency. That can be out of your hands when personnel changes dictate otherwise, but we just have to plod along, ride our luck a little bit and I'm sure, if we keep doing what we're doing, we will be OK."
The Pirates dominated their local rivals Albion at Brickfields on Wednesday, but could only achieve a four-point winning margin.
After their 9-5 success, Cattle said: "It was another one of those scenarios. I've been at Brickfields a number of times now and you dominate games but they still hang in there.
"They missed shots at goal but we should have taken our own chances to in the first half. We went there to win and we did – you don't really look at bonus points in derby games.
"It wasn't always a good advert for rugby in terms of being an expansive game. We're just happy with the way we stuck to our task in the conditions.
"We knew the sort of game that Albion would bring, but any team would be limited in those conditions. It was great to come away with the victory.
"We were determined not to look past the Plymouth game, but we have a short turnaround and things will be much the same against Bristol as I cannot see conditions changing that much."