Journey into the unknown for Pirates
THE second round of British & Irish Cup pool fixtures presents the Cornish Pirates with an arduous 1,250-mile round trip as they trek to Scotland to face Dundee High at Mayfield on Saturday (3pm), writes Dick Straughan.
It will be the first meeting between the two teams with the Pirates anxious to build on their winning start to the tournament after beating Carmarthen Quins.
Scottish Premiership side Dundee High also faced Welsh opposition as they got their campaign underway but went down 43-17 at Swansea.
Currently bottom of their league with two wins from seven games Dundee will rely heavily on home advantage to spring a surprise against the Pirates who are yet to find any consistency this season.
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But with Dundee currently on a five game losing streak the Pirates will be looking again for elusive 80-minute performance north of the border even though they know very little about their opponents.
"I will be speaking to Mefin Davies at Swansea this week but to be honest we know very little about Dundee," said Pirates' head coach Ian Davies.
"They are new to the competition and we don't know how much they know about Championship teams either."
He continued: "It is going to be tough in any case and the travel makes it even harder but we should be used to that because we do it every other week. I think it will probably affect us more during the week after the game."
Once again Davies will be forced to juggle his playing resources before selecting the squad to travel north tomorrow and has been dealt a major blow by the injury to Chris Morgan early in the game against the Quins.
The flanker suffered a broken arm and underwent an operation on Monday but now faces an extended period on the sidelines. Gavin Cattle will be missing again following his concussion against Doncaster three weeks ago and Kyle Marriott is still out with a torn hamstring.
However full-back Grant Pointer (shoulder) and wing Matt Evans (thigh) are expected to return to action in a fortnight, whilst Ben Prescott and Tom Riley are likely selection contenders for this weekend. Junior Fatialofa could be rested.
Davies added: "We have got a very intense Championship programme coming up after this game at Dundee with the likes of Leeds, Rotherham and Bedford all coming up.
"A League commitments mean that the decisions on releasing loan and dual-registered players to us are invariably late."
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