Tom Kessell urges Pirates to keep moving forward after ensuring Cup progress
Cornish Pirates scrum-half Tom Kessell has challenged his side to keep moving forward after maintaining their unbeaten run in the British and Irish Cup.
The Penzance outfit beat Ayr 28-21 at Mennaye Field last Sunday for their fifth win in five games in the competition this season.
Their sixth and final Pool Six game takes place away to Ulster this weekend and Kessell says they will be determined to remain unbeaten and build momentum for their return to Championship action against London Scottish on January 25.
“We’re really pleased, we can go to Ulster now and have a go and try to get the win,” said Kessell. “We know we’re through and playing in the quarter-finals so happy days, but we still want to win every game, though.
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“We want to get into the top four in the Championship to qualify for the play-offs, that has always been our aim.
“We take every game as it comes, in the league we’ve got Scottish coming up, and we want to get a win up there even though we know it will be tough. We just want to keep taking one game at a time and move forward as a squad.”
Kessell’s performances this season have exemplified the strength in depth within the Pirates’ squad.
The 23-year-old scrum-half has battled with skipper Gavin Cattle for the number nine jersey since his arrival from Plymouth Albion in April 2011.
He has made tangible progress this season, leading the club’s try-scoring list with eight touchdowns in the Championship.
Kessell said he has learned a lot from Pirates legend Cattle. He said: “At the start, he was one of the main reasons I wanted to come here. I just wanted to learn from Gavin and be like him. Hopefully, I’m doing it.
“It has been going OK for me this season. I just try to go out there and play rugby. It’s a team game and we all try and play well with each other.”
The greater numbers within the Pirates’ ranks this term has helped the entire squad develop quicker, according to the Cornishman.
Kessell said: “It always makes it easier when you’ve got a bigger squad. You can run decent drills in training, set part of the group up like the opposition and then try and implement your own game against it. You see the trends when there is 15 against 15.
“It obviously helps us when we’ve got injuries with other boys able to come in and try and take their opportunity.
“You can see that we’re all bonding well together because of the way we’re trying to play as a team out there.”