Pirates reflect on what could have been as vital call goes against them
Cornish Pirates head coach Ian Davies was left ruing a crucial passage of play just before half-time in his side's 25-3 Championship defeat to Newcastle Falcons at Mennaye Field which turned the tide of the contest in favour of the visitors.
With last Sunday's game moving into stoppage time and the Falcons ahead by just three at 6-3, after playing the first half with the gale at their backs, they scored the first of three tries to take control of a hugely physical contest.
But many felt that hooker Rob Vickers' try should not have stood after loosehead prop Jonny Golding appeared to collapse a scrum on his own ten-metre line and, from the resulting penalty awarded against his opposite number, Alan Paver, the Falcons attacked at pace and scored.
Davies felt that there was some cause for complaint but also believed that the Pirates should have defended the situation better.
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"We thought they collapsed it but stood there waiting for the referee to give a penalty to us," he said.
"They played on and were in front of the kick ahead as well, and all the backs stopped.
"We switched off for ten seconds and they scored points, and you can't do that against the good sides. That is the difference."
However, Davies paid tribute to the scrimmaging efforts of his pack throughout the game, which frequently had Newcastle on the back foot and employing some questionable binds in the front row to survive.
"I thought we were outstanding in the scrum against a Premiership pack and maybe they did get away with a little bit," he explained.
"Some of the penalties against us were dubious and maybe we got some dubious ones in our favour, but we shoved them back on several occasions and put in an 80-minute scrummaging performance to prove that we are not a Mickey Mouse pack."
Davies added: "We made them work hard for the win here, for sure. We had maybe three or four chances for points in the first half, but only one in the second.
"They created chances and scored points from them. That was the difference. They were very clinical and scored tries from a multitude of pick and drives, and that is what you have to do to win ugly away from home."
Now Davies and his coaching team have to work fast to arrest the trend of successive defeats as the Pirates prepare to travel to face Doncaster on Friday night.
"Two weeks running now we have put the effort in and got nothing and now it's a quick turnaround before going to Doncaster on Friday, who will be targeting us for sure," he said.