28 January, 2023
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League / Cup
Having started 2023 with 2 x morale-boosting wins at home against Doncaster Knights and Nottingham, the Cornish Pirates came down with a bump when suffering a hefty 55-13 defeat away to Bedford Blues last time out. As for this weekend, in a seventh versus second clash in the league, they will welcome Jersey Reds to the Mennaye Field on Saturday (ko 2.30pm).
Always formidable opponents, it is a tough challenge, although it does give a chance to get back straight back to business and strive for a result in front of what is expected to be a good-sized crowd at the Mennaye Field.
Club captain John Stevens makes a welcome return to action, as does fit again lock Will Britton. Joe Elderkin also pleasingly returns from injury and will partner Garyn Smith in the centre, and Carwyn Penny starts at full-back. Alex Schwarz is named at scrum half and, with both Tom Kessell and Ruardidh Dawson presently injured, Ali Stacey is available to provide short term cover on the bench. A former Pirates youth team member, who has represented Cornwall under 20s and Redruth, the talented young player presently plays for Cardiff Uni in BUCS Super Rugby and in the hard-nosed Welsh Championship league. Finally, should he be called off the bench, for another fit again returnee to the squad in centre Shae Tucker, it will proudly mark his 50th appearance for the Pirates.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s match, Cornish Pirates’ coach Louie Tonkin has commented:
“After a frustratingly bad day at the office against Bedford last weekend, it doesn’t get any easier against Jersey Reds who are well coached and organised. They have a big strong pack and a formidable scrum so the set piece will be very important.
“What it does provide though is an exciting opportunity to get back straight back on the horse, and that’s the beauty of rugby.
“The boys will always be up for a match against Jersey, especially at home, and it is a great opportunity to physically express ourselves following last Saturday’s result.”
John Stevens (C)