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Frustrated Mercer left waiting for his chance after joining Cornish Pirates

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 10, 2012

Ben Mercer in action during his two years for Plymouth Albion, who he represented before moving to Australia picture: JOHN ALLEN

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New Cornish Pirates signing Ben Mercer had hoped to make his Championship debut for the club in last Saturday's narrow 25-24 defeat at London Scottish but ended up enduring a frustrating afternoon as a non-playing travelling reserve.

A delay in completing the paperwork on his move from Australian club Eastern Suburbs meant that he was withdrawn from the squad at the eleventh hour and now hopes to be ready to face Carmarthen Quins in the British & Irish Cup this weekend.

The 25-year-old has had a hectic few days since arriving in the UK a week ago but despite the recent run of poor form at the Pirates, he is confident that his new club will turn things around before too long.

"I arrived a week ago and had a few different weights and conditioning sessions followed by a team session at Redruth," he explained. "I've just been trying to wrap my head around all the calls and figuring out combinations with the guys and what lines people like to run, and who likes to do what. It's going pretty well but repetition will breed familiarity.

"There are a lot of good players in the backs here. We have been looking at the points scored issue but the boys are really looking to get firing again. But I think it really is a case of when and not if. There is a lot of talent there and I wouldn't worry too much."

Mercer is no stranger to the South West, having spent two seasons at Brickfields in the colours of Plymouth Albion but he had no option other than to leave at the end of that stay in 2011.

He explained: "I had two years at Plymouth with varying degrees of success. In the first year we were a really good side and beat Exeter the year they went up and some of the other top teams in the division. But in the second year we had our budget cut and it was very disorganised.

"When you put 110 per cent in and you don't feel it is being reciprocated from elsewhere then it becomes a difficult thing."

He added: "They had a tough year last year but this season it looks like they have turned things around so good luck to them."

Mercer had an uncertain time after leaving Brickfields before the opportunity to play in Australia arose.

"I had a move to another team lined up at Albion but that fell through at the last minute and I was suddenly left with nothing," he said. "I played a couple of games for Bath in the A League and then off that Bristol offered me a trial basis for a couple of months but that didn't work out, so I was left drifting again."

Now back in the UK after forsaking an Australian summer he is ready to adapt to the rigours of club rugby in a British winter but Mercer believes he will have benefited from his time spent playing down under.

"There is a different emphasis in Australia and the conditions are different even though it is not the endless summer that some people think it is," he said. "The fields are generally harder so it is a faster game and suits the attack more and players who use their footwork.

"I think that did suit me although coming back to the English winter I will have to make that change again, but it is something I have done before."

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