17 December, 2017
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League / Cup
Despite their defeat away to Scarlets Premiership Select on Monday evening, the Cornish Pirates still top Pool 5 on points difference, and will therefore be extra keen to return to winning ways and secure victory in the return leg at home on Sunday (ko 2.30pm).
For what promises to be pre-Christmas cracker of a contest, the Pirates and their supporters will also welcome the opportunity to applaud Canadian international Matt Evans, who, on his second match since returning from injury, will be making his 100th appearance for the club.
The Cornish Pirates side shows a number personnel changes from the team that was defeated in Wales on Monday evening, including returns to action for full-back Toby May, centre Nicolas De Battista, and flanker Rupert Cooper. Player-coach Alan Paver starts at loose-head prop, whilst named on the bench is recent signing Sam Matavesi, along with former Scotland under 20s prop Jack Owlett, who it has been announced today is dual-registered with Exeter Chiefs.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s return leg, Alan Paver has said:
Playing against a much-changed Pirates side, the Scarlets were worthy winners on Monday evening. We had a mix of guys looking for an opportunity and others who haven’t played for a long time, so maybe, from a coaching perspective, we should on reflection have kept the core of the squad relatively the same. Perhaps we didn’t give the players the right chance, because when you are in a side like that it is difficult to build partnerships and demonstrate ability. That said, the effort was there, it was just the cohesion and performance that wasn’t where we needed it to be.
Without taking anything away from the Scarlets – because they really got stuck in – we have asked for a response from our lads this week, to play with more control and with a bit more fire in the belly, to hopefully see a marked improvement.
Nicolas De Battista
Chris Morgan (c)