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Pirates hope for improved performance at Scottish

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 05, 2012

Scrum-half Junior Poluleuligaga will make his first appearance for Pirates tomorrow  picture: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

Scrum-half Junior Poluleuligaga will make his first appearance for Pirates tomorrow picture: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

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The Cornish Pirates have endured a difficult few weeks since their promising start to the Championship but head coach Ian Davies is optimistic his side can return to top form at London Scottish this weekend.

Early-season successes over Jersey and Plymouth Albion have given way to two losses and a draw in subsequent matches with Newcastle Falcons, Bristol and Doncaster Knights.

The Pirates' plight has been hindered by a lengthening injury list. Skipper Gavin Cattle was joined in the treatment room this week by Paul Andrew, Darren Semmens, Laurie McGlone, Dave Ewers, Kyle Marriott, Jonny Bentley, Matt Evans and Grant Pointer.

However, Davies' back-line problems have been eased slightly by the arrival of scrum-half Junior Poluleuligaga on loan from Premiership side Exeter Chiefs.

Others such as new signing Ben Mercer and back Wes Davies are set for inclusion tomorrow.

Davies said: "Ben joined us on Tuesday so he is going to be involved as well but on the flip side we've lost Matt Evans and Laurie McGlone for this weekend – you are given with one hand and taken away with another.

"Over the last few weeks we are slowly but surely getting people back on the park. Wes Davies is back this weekend which is great for us.

Recent fixtures have been especially challenging but Davies is unwilling see London Scottish as a side of lesser substance this weekend.

"We have been disappointed because every game, you set out to win, if you can't win, you draw and if you can't draw you try and get the highest amount of points you can," said Davies.

"That was the disappointing thing from the Bristol and Newcastle games. We put a lot of effort in but came out of it at the end with no points. We've now got to kick on from here."

London Scottish's form has been erratic. A win at home against Doncaster was followed by a 54-9 reverse at Nottingham.

Davies is wary of the threat posed by former Redruth star Mark Bright. He said: "When they are good, they are very good and when they are bad, they are very bad. What the one thing is that has been shining is the form of Mark Bright. He has been outstanding so we have to make sure we nullify him.

"They have experience that they have been lacking and they will be smarting from a 50-point defeat at Nottingham. They didn't play that badly and the scoreline flattered Nottingham a little bit at the end when they ran in a couple of scores when Scottish were chasing the game.

"We're under no illusions, it is going to be a tough game and we have to make it about us and what we're doing if we are to move forward."

The same applies to Carmarthen Quins and Dundee High in the upcoming rounds of the British and Irish Cup.

"We will take no one in this league lightly, the same in the British and Irish Cup over the next couple of weeks," said Davies. "We are quite determined do well in that competition. There is no let-up at all and it will stretch the squad to its utmost."

Cornish Pirates (from): Davies, Mercer, Penberthy, Bedford, Hill, Nowell, Riley, Cheesman, Poluleuligaga, Kessell, Hallett, Fatialofa; Storer, Yeandle, Elloway, Paver, Joyce, Lyons, Johnson, Burgess, Morgan, Buckle.

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