RFU Championship XV head coach Mike Rayer has called up three Cornish Pirates players and one representative from Plymouth Albion for this week’s encounter with the Maori All Blacks.
Gavin Cattle, the Pirates’ captain, plus Phil Burgess and Alan Paver are the trio who have been summoned from the Penzance outfit, while Jon Vickers is the pick from Plymouth’s squad.
Rayer, from Bedford Blues, will be assisted by Ian Davies, the Pirates’ head coach, and Diccon Edwards from Leeds. The match will take place this Saturday (12.05pm) at Castle Park, Doncaster, and will be televised by Sky Sports.
Rayer, Davies and Edwards have selected a minimum of one player from each of the twelve Championship clubs. Nottingham and Bedford, as well as the Pirates, have provided three players.
The 23-man squad is made up entirely of players qualified to play for England. Rayer said: “I think it’s a great opportunity. Myself, Ian and Diccon have been in this division for a while now, as have a lot of the players. It’s proven as a development pathway.
“There are a few guys in the England squad who have passed through the Championship at some stage in some form. I’m a big supporter of the Championship and what it has done for player development.”
Three former England Under-20 players have been named in the squad, with Bedford’s Josh Bassett the most recent representative. Leeds pair Calum Green and Jacob Rowan also have Under-20 caps to their name.
Rayer added: “It’s important that you have a blend of more experienced guys guiding the young enthusiastic players around the pitch. That’s exactly what I’m expecting from guys like Gavin Cattle, Nic Rouse and Alan Paver, who are very experienced at this level. It’s a good mix.”
RFU Championship squad: Backs:
L Baldwin (Bedford), J Bassett (Bedford),
G Cattle (Cornish Pirates), R Crane (Nottingham), C Hayter (Moseley), D Mama (Doncaster), T Roberts (Bristol), J Sharp (Bedford), T Streather (Nottingham), J Tovey (Bristol). Forwards: D Baines (Rotherham),
P Burgess (Cornish Pirates), T Davies (Doncaster), C Green (Leeds), N Hannay (Jersey), M Irish (London Scottish), R Mayhew (Newcastle), A Paver (Cornish Pirates),
B Pienaar (Moseley), N Rouse (Nottingham),
J Rowan (Leeds), O Tomaszczyk (Newcastle),
J Vickers (Plymouth Albion).
Canada, with Plymouth Albion’s Aaron Carpenter and Cornish Pirates’ Matt Evans in their starting XV, lost 42-12 to Samoa in their opening IRB International Series fixture at Colwyn Bay, Wales, on Friday. Plymouth’s Brett Beukeboom had a run-out as a replacement late in the game. The next fixture for Canada will be against Russia, who lost 40-24 to the United States in Friday’s opening encounter, at the same venue this coming Saturday.