Ian Davies concedes defeat has all but ended post-season hopes
Cornish Pirates head coach Ian Davies was left dejected by his team's 37-25 defeat to Leeds at Otley and the effective end of their Championship play-off aspirations this season.
A flat second-half display allowed Leeds to come back from 12-3 behind to edge ahead through lock Matt Smith's first try after 50 minutes and they did not look back.
Metronomic kicking from impressive fly-half Rory Clegg coupled with a second home try from another ex-Pirate David Doherty was capped in stoppage time by Smith's second score. Matt Evans added a very late consolation try for the Pirates but they returned home to Cornwall empty-handed.
After watching his team lose their third Championship game in a row the Pirates boss commented: "It was a flat performance, to be honest, and we flattered to deceive in the first half. Then in the second half the wheels came off royally.
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"We gave away far too many penalties throughout the game and Rory Clegg had a dream day out there. He had a bit of an armchair ride too to be honest but he looked what he is – and that is a class above."
Davies admitted that he was unhappy with the amount of penalties his team conceded but added that there were other things that needed addressing too.
He said: "Our spacings in defence were an issue and at the set piece we were asleep. We didn't have any tempo in our line-out and our scrum creaked which was disappointing. We knew we could penetrate them but in the first 20 minutes of the second half we didn't see any ball."
That was a key stage in the game with Leeds scoring 13 points without reply and taking back the lead. From then on the Pirates only threatened sporadically and their Championship season all but faded away.
Davies dismissed the notion that his team were tired but said: "You have to be realistic and say that after we blew the game against London Scottish it was always going to be difficult to qualify for the play-offs.
"Then with Bristol winning at Bedford and us losing here it has not made life any easier. But we will not give up and there will be some changes next week because certain guys didn't perform.
"We are going to give other guys a chance to stake a claim for a place against Munster in the British and Irish Cup because that has become even more important for us now."