Pirates wary of Plymouth Albion's revenge bid
The Cornish Pirates will be wary of a Plymouth Albion side motivated by revenge when they travel to Brickfields on Boxing Day.
The Penzance side came through the reverse Championship fixture at Mennaye Field in September with a 19-17 win. However, head coach Ian Davies admitted his men were fortunate to earn that victory, and said their Devon opponents will regard revenge on December 26 as the making of their season.
He said: "I'm sure, if Plymouth win the game, they will see it as a successful season no matter what, because we have been the dominant side for a few years.
"They came to the Mennaye and we managed to sneak a win which we probably didn't deserve. That result shocked Plymouth, for want of a better phrase, because they came down full of confidence.
"With us now going there, I'm sure they will be looking at revenge, and, if they do, they will see it as a successful season from here on in."
Albion have failed to record a win over the Pirates for nearly three years, but Davies admitted his sides have rarely enjoyed an easy game at Brickfields. He said: "We have never gone to Brickfields and had a comfortable game, and we have always gone there with the fear of defeat.
"It is the same this time as well, to be honest, because of what happened when we played them earlier in the season."
Albion impressed on their last trip to Cornwall, showing a more versatile game under new coach Nat Saumi, and caused the Pirates problems.
However, Davies wants his men to impose their qualities on the game this time. He said: "They seem to have reverted back to type, being a very forward-orientated team.
"They should have beaten us at the Mennaye but we only had 19 fit players that day. We had three guys on the bench who were not medically fit to go on.
"We are in a better place now, and hopefully the fact we have had some good wins under our belt, and had some consistency in selection, will see us playing to our strengths and not really worrying about what Plymouth are going to bring."
The Pirates had no fixture last weekend, following on from their back-to-back wins over Swansea in the British and Irish Cup.
And, while the poor weather has affected many in the region, they have taken the chance to work in the gym and make use of the excellent facilities at Penwith College.
Davies said: "It has been quite bad here as well but we have the benefit of Penwith College and their 3G [artificial] pitch. We have also taken some chance to do some good work in the gym. During the season, the guys do not get a lot of time to do some quality weight training."
The Pirates will name their match-day squad today, but expect to make few changes to the selection that won in Swansea.
New back Kyle Moyle will miss out after suffering a hamstring injury in training, but centre Sam Hill returns from England Under-20 duty.
Cornish Pirates (from): Davies, Bedford, Hill, Riley, Cheeseman, Fatialofa, Mercer, Hallett, Cattle (capt), Kessell; Andrew, Paver, Elloway, Semmens, Joyce, Prescott, Lyons, Barry, Tyas, Hambly, Marriott, McGlone.
The Cornish All Blacks postponed Saturday's National League Two South derby against Redruth due to heavy flooding around Polson Bridge.
A statement from the club, released three hours before kick-off, read: "The fire brigade advised us that the game should most definitely not take place.
"We apologise for what may seem like indecision but we really wanted to host this afternoon's fixture – but the weather conditions have beaten us."
The rearranged fixture will now take place on February 9.