Ian Davies targets back to back cup wins for Cornish Pirates
Cornish Pirates boss Ian Davies has set his side a straightforward challenge ahead of their home British & Irish Cup clash with Dundee High at the Mennaye Field on Sunday (2pm), writes Dick Straughan.
"Win the next two games and we will get a home quarter-final. It`s as simple as that," he said, as the Pirates prepare to face the Scottish Premiership side and Carmarthen Quins in their final two qualifying games.
The Pirates currently sit top of Pool 3 with four wins from four and eased past Dundee 32-6 when the two teams met at Mayfield in October. But two dropped bonus points against Swansea has kept the pressure on the Cornish side, as Davies is happy to admit.
He said: "We missed those bonus points against Swansea and we deserved them. Now we have to go out against Dundee and win. How we do it is up to us."
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Dundee may have no hope of qualifying for the latter stages of this season's competition, but will travel to Cornwall buoyed by their win against Carmarthen before Christmas.
Coupled with this first success in the tournament they have also won their last three league games to ease their relegation fears and toppled third placed Currie last Saturday with an impressive four-try haul away from home.
Dundee have recruited Scotland international full-back Rory Lamont as he recovers from an 11-month injury nightmare, but the 30-year old is also registered to play for Glasgow Warriors in the Heineken Cup. A decision on his availability for Sunday's game in Cornwall will be made by the Glasgow club.
Another threat for the Scottish side is Canada international wing Taylor Paris, who has also played for the Warriors in the Celtic League.
Davies added: "They are dangerous and have very strong links to Glasgow. But we have achieved our targets lately and the pressure within our squad to keep the winning run going is welcome."
For the Pirates, prop Alan Paver is unavailable due to suspension which his head coach described as "a blow". But Davies continued: "It is not as bad as it could be though, in that we have the likes of Ben Prescott, Ryan Storer and Peter Joyce all fighting for places, so we have plenty of cover there."
Back row Tom Duncan is in line to make his Pirates debut following his recent signing from Redruth and Kyle Moyle should feature if he passes a fitness test on a hamstring injury.
Injured duo Matt Evans and Grant Pointer are both nearing a return to fitness and Davies is hopeful that they may play a part in the final two pool fixtures.
Cornish Pirates: K Moyle, B Mercer, T Bedford, S Hill, W Davies, K Hallett, T Kessell, P Burgess, A Cheesman, B Maidment, G Johnson (capt), D Lyons, B Prescott, D Semmens, R Storer. Replacements: P Andrew, R Elloway, P Joyce, J Tyas, T Duncan, G Cattle, T Riley.
* Ticket offer: There's a special ticket offer for Sunday's fixture - adults and concessions will be admitted for just £10 for the terraces or open seating, and free for under 16s. Season ticket holders should note that their ticket also covers their entry to the game. Tickets will be available on the day but as ever they are also available on-line at www.cornish-pirates.com, and from certain Warrens baker shops throughout the county.