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At the recent Coaches Evening at The Mennaye, the overwhelming message to emerge was that everyone was ‘chomping at the bit’ to get the new season underway. It has after all been an unusually long ‘pre-season’ owing to the Rugby World Cup – now underway in Japan.
But with such glorious autumn weather in Richmond – and news that our Sam has done himself proud this morning against Australia – all seemed well with the world. This feeling continued into the opening quarter of an hour of what was to become an intriguing contest. Alex O’Meara’s first try of the game was just reward for the Cornishmen’s early efforts. Will Cargill’s calm kick from out wide into the wind – only adding to the warmth – to give the Pirates a deserved lead.
The Exiles however had selected a dozen ‘freshers’ in their matchday ’23’ – which maybe suggested that the Pirates’ effective continuity in playing personnel would prove to be the difference. Such inference doesn’t account for team spirit – which the hosts’ began to show in bucket loads. Particularly in defence as the visitors sought to improve their own lot.
Not only that – but that 40 something ‘Nemesis’ in the shape of Mark Bright – made an impact five minutes later. Setting up Exiles’ Captain, Lewis Wynne to level things with the help of Dan Barnes’ trusty boot. Game was back on with a vengeance.
With a reliable set piece and discipline noticeably solid – it looked as if Rory Parata had restored the lead – on the back of a jinky run from the impressive AJ. Mr Foley had other ideas and thus it remained level at the break.
The lead was though restored ten minutes into the second period – with Will Cargill slotting three – to reward a strong showing from the Pirates.
Further progress was stunted by an increasingly adventurous Scottish which set up a see-saw last quarter.
Tries from Jack Ingall & Josh Barton for the hosts – the latter’s last contribution of the game were cancelled out by similar for AJ Cant & Alex O’Meara. But Dan Barnes’ boot was that bit steadier at conversion time which made some difference. Albeit by only a single point – until the fly half sealed things with less than a couple of minutes remaining – and that having missed a similar opportunity earlier.
So the RAG hoodoo against the Scots which dates back eight years continues. We should have known. Next week it’s a visit to Yorkshire and a chance to redress this disappointment. Carnegie’s hefty loss at Nottingham maybe some kind of indicator of what to expect….but this is sport and there are no givens to be expected.