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Exeter Chiefs scrum-half Poluleuligaga to become a Pirate as cover for Cattle

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 04, 2012

Scrum-half Junior Poluleuligaga will feature for Cornish Pirates against London Scottish this weekend   Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

Scrum-half Junior Poluleuligaga will feature for Cornish Pirates against London Scottish this weekend Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

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Exeter Chiefs scrum-half Junior Poluleuligaga has joined the Cornish Pirates on a short-term loan.

The Samoa international will cover the loss of injured Pirates skipper Gavin Cattle.

Poluleuligaga joins dual-registered Chiefs Jack Yeandle, Jack Nowell and Sam Hill at Mennaye Field.

Pirates head coach Ian Davies said: "We spoke to [Exeter Chiefs head coach] Rob Baxter probably two weeks ago about the possibility because Gavin has had a hand injury that would require some rest.

"When Gavin got knocked out on Friday night it speeded up the process. It now means Junior gets some good time with us over the next three or four weeks."

Tom Kessell has filled in for Cattle but his versatility has also seen him called into service on the wing.

The move for Poluleuligaga will ensure Kessell can be rested as required.

Davies said: "It is quite a fortunate situation we're in that we've got a quality nine coming in to supplement Tom who is playing very well at the moment.

"Tom is a model professional who works hard at his game. he knows he has some rough edges he needs to work on.

"He's sees it as the chance to work with another quality scrum-half an to learn off him as he has with Gavin.

"Kessell has got a huge future ahead of him but sometimes he is a victim of his versatility.

"It also means we can change how we play a little bit because to what we can with the Cattle-Kessell combination."

Poluleuligaga's first-team opportunities have been limited at Sandy Park. Fellow nine Will Chudley has made a positive impression since his arrival at the Aviva Premiership club in the summer while Haydn Thomas has also returned from his recent hamstring injury.

Exeter Braves' A League fixtures will also come less frequently over the coming weeks.

Baxter said: "With Will Chudley coming in and doing so well and the other scrum-halves – Haydn Thomas back from injury now and Kevin Barrett also going well – an opportunity has arisen for Junior to get some extended game time down at the Cornish Pirates.

"With Gavin Cattle having played a lot recently and taken a couple of knocks recently, it is a fantastic opportunity for Junior to play what we believe is high-level rugby. Is it just what he needs.

"It is very difficult for fly-halves and scrum-halves. Our A League programme starts to become a little bit fractured now. We've not got a game next Monday night, so getting Junior playing of game time will be great for him.

"Hopefully it will be good for the Pirates and it will give ourselves a fantastic opportunity for us to look at him performing in long periods in games a series of games.

"It's also something he will need to keep his form up should the opportunities arise for him in the future."

Baxter feels his club's relationship with Championship Pirates is beneficial for both clubs. He said: "I think it is one of those positive things from the relationship we have with the Pirates at the moment."

Pirates CEO Rod Coward added: "To have the ongoing, professional relationship with Exeter Chiefs that allows us to be able to approach them when injuries occur to key players and for us to get such a prompt response is hugely beneficial.

"We are confident that Junior will provide excellent cover at scrum-half during his time at the Pirates."

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