VIDEO: Gavin Cattle predicts Pirates progress despite Sarries loss
Cornish Pirates’ supporters must pay little attention to their club’s recent struggle against Premiership Saracens, says skipper Gavin Cattle.
The Penzance club were soundly beaten, 61-3, in the capital last week as Sarries demonstrated the gap between Championship clubs and those in the top flight.
However, scrum-half Cattle says the result has no bearing on Pirates’ upcoming season and their preparations are progressing satisfactorily.
He said: “I think we have got to be happy with where we are with our preparations.
“Obviously, losing to Saracens was a bit of a heavy defeat but we have to look at the bigger picture – they were European Cup semi-finalists and Premiership finalists.
“They have a settled team who get paid a lot of money to do what they do. They are always going to be pretty good.
“It was a good measuring stick for us and we could see the standards that we are aspiring to. We will take stock and realise we are not as good as we maybe thought.”
The Pirates will get another chance to assess their current worth tomorrow at Mennaye Field against a Cornish Clubs’ XV, and then in another triangular tournament on Saturday, featuring Cinderford and St Austell.
Cattle’s men beat South West One side St Austell 54-0 in a 40-minute game at Polson Bridge earlier this month as part of a triangular competition also contested by their hosts, the Cornish All Blacks.
The National League Two South All Blacks also fell, 26-0 to the Pirates, meaning Ian Davies’ side scored 80 unanswered points in their opening pre-season outing.
Cattle added: “We can see the things we need to work on because it can be tough to measure yourself against weaker opposition as well – you can think you are a million dollars when you’re not.
“As a coaching staff and a playing squad, we are fairly grounded and we know where we are at. There is a big gulf between the Premiership at the top end and the Championship.
“What we’ve got to work on, no matter who we are playing, is setting our standards. We have to get our kicking game right, our decision-making has to be good as well as our ball-retention. Those must not be cliches to us, we have to put them into action.”
The Pirates have also worked hard off the field over the summer with a series of roadshows across Cornwall, hoping to win hearts and minds in the Duchy. The architect of those initiatives, chief executive Josh Lewsey, will step down next month but remain on the board.
Cattle said: “Off the pitch, we have made massive strides this year. Things like the roadshows, where we have 70 or 80 kids involved and we get in touch with the public, those are positive steps.
“We want to get that support base because without that, the club is not going to sustain itself. There is a good vibe at the club at the moment.”