Morgan return boosts Pirates for tough trip to London Scottish
Chris Morgan returns to lead the Cornish Pirates against fifth place London Scottish in their Greene King Championship fixture at the Athletic Ground tomorrow (3pm).
Morgan was rested for both British & Irish Cup qualifiers against Ayr and Ulster Ravens and is one of several changes in Ian Davies' side for the trip to the capital.
Craig Holland returns at full-back after missing the trip to Belfast and Tom Kessell takes back the scrum-half slot from Mike Pope who moves to the wing.
At fly-half Kieran Hallett is fit again after seven weeks out with a broken thumb sustained at Nottingham in early December. Centre Junior Fatialofa, missing from the Pirates side since Boxing Day, is also battle ready again and takes his place on the bench.
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Up front Darren Barry will make his 50th appearance for the Cornish Pirates as he partners Will Graulich at lock. Hooker Rob Elloway comes back to add a wealth of experience to the front row with Aaron Carpenter switching to No8 where he will join Morgan and Alex Cheesman in the back row.
The Pirates have opted for a four-three split in favour of the pack on the replacement bench with prop Shane Cahill fit after suffering a knock against Ulster. Utility back Kyle Moyle also keeps his place in the squad after recent impressive performances in the Cup.
London Scottish welcome Neil Best back into their squad. The Irish international flanker has been out for six weeks through suspension and takes his place on the bench.
Backs coach Mike Friday says there has been a noticeable increase in tempo at training this week as London Scottish look to recover from last Saturday's B&I Cup exit and exact revenge on the Pirates following a 16-8 defeat at the Mennaye Field in November.
"We are starting to get to that important point of the season where it's about taking points off teams around you,” he said.
"We understand how important this game is and we need to be right on the money against a very robust Pirates team.”
He added: "We need to come out firing. They are hugely physical, well organised defensively and difficult to break down.
"Down there we didn't perform against a very physical Pirates team who put us to the sword.
"We will be up against it unless we are 100 per cent on our game.”
London Scottish: Jim Thompson, Mike Doneghan, Oli Grove, Andy Reay, Miles Mantella, Dan Newton, Jordi Pasqualin, Eric Fry, Tom Dunn, Tom Francis, Tyler Hotson, Dave Lyons, Ben Russell, Chevvy Pennycook, Mark Bright (c). Replacements: Adam Kwasnicki, Mark Irish, Paul Spivey, Neil Best, Lee Millar, James Love, PJ Gidlow.
Cornish Pirates: Holland, Pope, Riley, Dancer, Goss, Hallett, Kessell; Andrew, Elloway, Prescott, Graulich, Barry, Morgan (capt), Cheesman, Carpenter. Replacements – Channon, Cahill, Parker, Atkinson, Sinclair, Fatialofa, Moyle.
* Follow the latest score from the Pirates via our twitter account on Saturday - and there will be a match report on our website on Saturday evening along with all the local rugby and football results.
* In other news, former Cornish Pirates hooker Dave Ward has been named on the replacement bench for tomorrow's England Saxons clash with the Ireland Wolfhounds at Kingsholm (5pm).
Ward, now with Harlequins, is joined by club mate Matt Hopper, another ex-Pirate, who starts at centre. Also in the England midfield, and completing a trio of Pirate interest in the white jersey, will be Sam Hill who remains dual-registered with the Cornish club from Exeter Chiefs.