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Canada captain to skipper Pirates
Having returned to playing action as a replacement against Rotherham Titans last weekend, a fit again Aaron Carpenter, who had been injured when captaining Canada against the Maori All Blacks at the beginning of November, will skipper the Cornish Pirates in their British & Irish Cup match against Ayr on Sunday.
This is clearly an important Pool Six match for the Pirates, despite entering this game in the knowledge that they cannot be leapfrogged at the top of the table.
After four matches they are the only team in the competition with maximum points and are already 11 pool points ahead of second-placed Ulster Ravens, but they must at the same time focus on ultimately securing a home tie.
For those unaware there are six pools, with four teams in each, who play each other home and away, and the top side in each pool progress to the quarter-final stage, plus the two best runners-up. The quarter-finals are scheduled for the weekend 4/5/6 April, with teams ranked 1-4 having home advantage.
It is indeed looking good for the Pirates, who beat Ayr 53-10 away in October, but they will also rightly be taking nothing for granted. Their Scottish opponents, who are presently fourth in the RBS Premiership, have good links with Glasgow Warriors, a number of whom are expected to be in the squad that travels to Cornwall.
Some good news for the Pirates is that former Redruth back-rower Tom Duncan, who made two appearances for the Pirates last season, has now recovered from a knee injury. He is named on a bench that will also seat centre Tom Riley, whose next appearance will be his 50th for the club.
Following Sunday's game the Pirates will be left with one remaining fixture in Pool 6, away next Friday evening to Ulster Ravens. In the meantime, their full selection for this Sunday is as follows:-
Cornish Pirates: 15 Craig Holland, 14 Mike Pope, 13 Alex Dancer, 12 Rheon James, 11 Kyle Moyle, 10 Angus Sinclair, 9 Tom Kessell; 1 Kieran Davies, 2 Aaron Carpenter (capt), 3 Jack Andrew, 4 Neale Patrick, 5 Will Graulich, 6 Jake Parker, 7 Joe Atkinson, 8 James Phillips.
Replacements: 16 Tom Channon, 17 Ben Prescott, 18 Darren Barry, 19 Alex Cheesman, 20 Tom Duncan, 21 Tom Riley, 22 Tom Hendrickson.
Referee: David Proctor (RFU) Assistants: Nick Williams & Michael Patz
Kick-off at the Mennaye Field, Penzance, is at 3pm.
Tickets for Sunday's game will be available at the gates on the day, open at 1pm, and although last week's marquee fire was naturally devastating the clubhouse will be open as usual from 12 noon. Supporters can also join the singalong there post match with the popular Cadgwith Singers.
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