Pirates given a jolt as Chiefs go on rampage
Cornish Pirates 3, Exeter Chiefs 58
CORNISH Pirates boss Chris Stirling described this result as a jolt after watching his team concede seven tries to a powerful Chiefs outfit in their opening pre-season fixture.
The Pirates were competitive in the first half but faded badly after the break as the Premiership side turned up the heat running in 42 unanswered points prompting the New Zealander to remark: "That was the jolt we needed but maybe not in terms of the score.
"I'm disappointed that it blew out a bit and they scored tries in clusters on a couple of occasions because of a lack of concentration on our part, but that was what we needed."
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He added: "We got out-muscled and out physical-ed at every aspect of the game so it was a real eye-opener to our guys that while we are a very good team in the Championship, that was an example of the difference between our league and the Premiership."
The Chiefs were ahead after just four minutes as a Fijian international wrecking ball named Sireli Naqelevuki bulldozed his way down the right flank before setting up new signing Myles Dorrian for the opening try.
Ignacio Mieres added the conversion and a hat-trick of first half penalties as the Argentinean set about claiming a personal haul of 23 points for the match.
The only points of the match for the Cornish Pirates came from a Ceiron Thomas penalty but the Welsh fly-half was carrying an injury and did not re-appear for the second half.
But on a hot and humid afternoon the Pirates remained competitive throughout the first half and while the lineout was too frequently disrupted by the Chiefs, the home scrum remained solid all afternoon posing more than a few problems for Rob Baxter's side.
The second half, however, belonged to the Chiefs and they quickly took the game by the throat with early tries from Foster and Rennie. Unable to gain any meaningful possession the Cornish Pirates were forced to defend for long periods as the Chiefs carved out a series of chances.
In the final quarter the floodgates finally caved in as Josh Tatupu and Richie Baxter claimed tries to take the lead to 44-3. A further brace of tries in stoppage time from Haydn Thomas and Matt Jess completed the rout.
In summing-up Chris Stirling said: "We were put under huge pressure in certain areas of the game which I felt we may have stood up to better than we did.
"What we have to look at now is what happened, how we did it and make sure that we do it better next time.
"We turned the ball over at the breakdown too much today because our body positions weren't right.
"We struggled at the set piece which was to be expected but the game was all about making sure we develop in those areas and we wanted to test our lineout today which wasn't functioning too well. We needed to go there to find out."
He added: "In attack we need to get more width. In Defence we need to get into position quicker so we can push off the line with more purpose."