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Cornish All Blacks out to disappoint old pals

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 05, 2013

By Mike Baker

Cornish All Blacks scrum-half Lewis Webb, here in action against Bournemouth last week,  is set to move to fly-half when they travel to Exmouth tomorrow    Picture:  Simon Bryant/Pinnacle

Cornish All Blacks scrum-half Lewis Webb, here in action against Bournemouth last week, is set to move to fly-half when they travel to Exmouth tomorrow Picture: Simon Bryant/Pinnacle

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Cornish All Blacks assistant coach Tom Rawlings is relishing another derby encounter in National League Two South on Saturday – and he is all in favour of the feeling.

There is always going to be a special place in hearts from both ends of the Duchy for the thundering encounters between the respective men from Launceston and Redruth, but having a couple more, relatively, local sides certainly adds interest for Rawlings.

On Saturday, All Blacks, fresh from an impressive 32-5 defeat of Bournemouth at fortress Polson last weekend, travel to Exmouth looking to add to a solitary win away from home.

"I think it's good to get caught up in a derby atmosphere," said Rawlings. "It's nice to have Taunton and now Exmouth in the same league to create three local derbies for us.

"It's great for us not to have travel up to the likes of London and Bristol every other weekend, from one point of view, and it's good for the South West to have those fixtures.

"It keeps guys in the area, playing a good level of rugby and not having to drop down divisions."

A lot of those guys at Exmouth once plied their trade with the All Blacks, not least of which is the Cockles' coach, Jon Hill. But Rawlings admits there will be space for both business and pleasure when old acquaintances meet on and off the field of play.

"There are a lot of former All Blacks up at Exmouth, and obviously with their coach Jon Hill being our former coach," said Rawlings. "It will be really nice to maybe hook up with some old friends and have a beer afterwards, but before we think about that, we really do want to win this local derby and it's important that we do.

"Our away form hasn't been great. We've only won once away, at Southend, which was a very long trip and one hell of a performance, but we are unbeaten at home.

"It's all right performing there, but can you get that consistency and win on the road as well? The win at Southend really lifted the camp and led to better things, so it would be nice to experience some of that again."

The one thing no one travelling to Imperial Road will be guilty of is taking anything for granted against a side propping up the table with just three wins to their name.

"We went up to London Irish Wild Geese when they were second from bottom and they well and truly beat us," said Rawlings. "So we're very aware that Exmouth are a massive threat. We've got to go there with our heads screwed on if we're going to get that win."

All Blacks face something of a reshuffle in their back division, in the absence of Nielson Webber. Jake Murphy will move to 12, Lewis Webb to fly-half and Adam Collings taking over at nine. Also, returning to the pack is Rawlings' brother Mike, to replace the impressive young back-rower Chris Courtier.

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