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Davies hopes to maintain good form in Leeds clash

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 26, 2012

Cornish Pirates head coach Ian Davies was pleased with his side's progress in the British and Irish Cup  Pinnacle

Cornish Pirates head coach Ian Davies was pleased with his side's progress in the British and Irish Cup Pinnacle

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The Cornish Pirates hope to continue their British and Irish Cup form when Championship action resumes this weekend.

The Pirates earned Cup victories over Carmarthen Quins and Dundee High, following on from a less profitable period in the league.

Early-season wins over Jersey and Plymouth Albion ensured a positive start to the campaign, but Pirates have since failed to beat Bristol, Newcastle Falcons, Doncaster Knights and London Scottish.

Their return to winning form was therefore a timely confidence boost but head coach Ian Davies recognises further progress is needed to overcome Leeds at Mennaye Field on Sunday.

They then face Moseley, Rotherham Titans and Bedford Blues through to the end of November. He said: "We spoke prior to the Carmarthen game about the importance of the British and Irish Cup and, to be honest, we didn't perform brilliantly in that first game.

"So we spoke again after that fixture and decided to use the next four games as Championship games – Dundee away, then Leeds, Moseley and Rotherham. We did the job up in Scotland. The boys did very well to pick up a four-try bonus point away from home, but we have to take in the context of the opposition.

"They are not going to be any near as good as Leeds, who are a very professional outfit and will do well this season."

Leeds will bring several familiar faces down to Cornwall this weekend. Lock Mike Myerscough, fellow second row Matt Smith, wing David Doherty and scrum-half James Doherty all moved to Headingley over the summer.

But, despite Leeds' strength in depth, they were unable to earn British and Irish Cup wins in games against Leinster A and Jersey.

"They have a larger squad than we do and they will have used the games to rotate some players," said Davies.

"But if you look at the team they had out against Jersey at the weekend, quite a few of those guys will be playing against us on Sunday.

"Maybe it was thrown back in their faces a little bit. They would have been hoping to get a good morale-boosting victory and Jersey turned them over."

Davies expects Leeds' former Pirates to receive a good reception at the Mennaye this weekend. He said: "The fans will give them a warm welcome. I think a lot of them were disappointed the boys left but I'm sure they will get a lot of support from our supporters. It would be nice from our point of view to get one over on them and don't make their return to the Mennaye the happiest of times."

Davies hopes to have skipper Gavin Cattle and versatile back Matt Evans back in contention this week. He said: "Gavin started training this week and we are hoping he comes through all the procedures you have to go through with a head injury.

"We came through the Dundee game without any added injuries. Matt Evans should be back this weekend after his injury up at Doncaster."

Cornish Pirates (from): Andrew, Paver, Prescott, Storer, Elloway, Semmens, Yeandle, Johnson, Lyons, Barry, Burgess, McGlone, Maidment, Buckle; Kessell, Coote, Cattle, Penberthy, Hallett, Hill, Fatialofa, Reilly, Bedford, Cheeseman, Pointer, Nowell, Mercer, Davies, Evans, Kilmartin.

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