Pirates out to build on cup victories
THE Cornish Pirates are back in league action this weekend when they take on Leeds Carnegie in the RFU Championship at the Mennaye Field on Sunday (2.30pm).
After the first six games in the competition the Pirates currently lie in eighth place, seven points and three places behind Leeds.
But back to back wins in the British & Irish Cup over Carmarthen Quins and then Scottish Premiership side Dundee last Saturday (report, page 82) have given the Pirates a timely boost ahead of Sunday's game.
"The players recognise that it is another big step up this weekend as we return to Championship rugby," said Pirates assistant coach Harvey Biljon. "We got a good result against Carmarthen and built on that at Dundee. Now we need to build on that performance and result too."
He added: "Leeds are in good form. They are a confident side and have had some good results and now know what Championship rugby is all about after last season.
"They have a new coaching team with Dave Baldwin being recruited to make a contribution to their forwards."
Leeds have yet to win away from home this season and suffered their second reverse in the cup at the weekend when they went down at home to Jersey. However, Biljon doesn't think that will affect them.
"They will see possibilities in coming to play us and will shrug the Jersey defeat off," he said.
"That will be their motivation because they will have realised now that they cannot take their foot off the pedal."
Leeds included their trio of summer recruits from the Pirates in their defeat last Sunday with David Doherty taking over the kicking duties in the 33-27 reverse, while Mike Myerscough and James Doherty were named on the bench.
The Pirates were pleased to come through a bruising game in Scotland with no fresh injury concerns, having rested several members of the squad for the game.
Alan Paver, Kieran Hallett, Rob Elloway, Wes Davies and Junior Fatialofa all missed the trip north, while Tom Riley and Gary Johnson were both named on the bench.
Grant Pointer came through his first game since dislocating a shoulder on the opening day of the season and wing Matt Evans could also be available for selection after missing the last three games through injury. Scrum-half Gavin Cattle will have a fitness test as he recovers from concussion sustained in the game at Doncaster Knights last month.
Cornish Pirates (from): Bedford, Riley, Fatialofa, Hallett, Andrew, Elloway, Prescott, Lyons, Johnson, Burgess, B Maidment, Storer, Semmens, Barry, Kessell, Penberthy, Cheesman, Paver, Joyce, McGlone, Mercer, Davies, Buckle, M Maidment, Yeandle, Coote, Kilmartin, Wigglesworth, Nowell.