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Davies targets home quarter-final as British and Irish Cup resumes

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 11, 2013

Tom Duncan is expected to make his Cornish Pirates debut against Dundee High in the British and Irish Cup on Sunday picture: Simon Bryant

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The Cornish Pirates' hopes of earning a home quarter-final in the British and Irish Cup can take a big step forward with another victory over Dundee High this weekend.

However, head coach Ian Davies expects a tough challenge as they look to repeat the 36-6 success they enjoyed at Mayfield in October.

Indeed, the pressure is still on Pirates after failing to pick up winning bonus points in their last two Cup games, both against Swansea.

Success over the next two weekends against Dundee and then Carmarthen Quins will ensure they finish top of Pool Three as one of the four best group qualifiers.

Pirates' Scottish opponents have no chance of progression, even if they win at Mennaye Field on Sunday, but Davies is wary this could make them a more dangerous proposition.

"It is not going to be easy," he said. "Dundee have nothing to lose so we expect them to come down and throw the ball around.

"Then we have a tough trip to Carmarthen and that will not be easy, either."

Dundee started 2013 with a comprehensive 35-12 win over Currie, with Scotland back Rory Lamont one of their try-scorers.

The Glasgow Warriors player played for 60 minutes, in his first match for 11 months following injury.

Dundee's close links with the Warriors is another reason Davies is staying cautious, especially with numerous changes expected in his own line-up.

"They will be probably be supplemented by some Glasgow Warriors players," said Davies. "We will have a bit of a changed team, so that will make it more difficult for us as well.

"I believe Dundee have got a very early start on Saturday morning to travel down, but they will enjoy the occasion – hopefully not too much."

The Pirates had no fixture last weekend, so Davies allowed the squad some time off following their Championship win over Bristol on New Year's Day.

Davies said the enforced break will have no bearing on the team's performance this weekend.

He said: "Everybody is still buoyed by the fact we beat Bristol. There will be a number of changes to the team in any case, so the week off becomes irrelevant in many ways. It will not be the same team building continuity, even if the game had been played last weekend."

Back-row Tom Duncan, who recently joined Pirates from Redruth, is set to make his debut on Sunday. Another recent arrival, Kyle Moyle, is also in line for a return following a hamstring injury, while Davies expects one or two more to come back into contention for the match against Quins next week.

He said: "Tom will be involved and he will be with us for the next three or four weeks, so we'll get a good look at him in those games. Kyle is back from his injury and will start somewhere in the back line, we haven't decided yet. Matt Evans and Grant Pointer are still out injured but hopefully they will be back next week."

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