CORNISH Pirates are hoping to “ruffle some feathers” in the Greene King IPA Championship next season according to their director of rugby.
Ian Davies spoke to the Packet after the recent additions of Jamal Ford-Robinson from Cambridge and Paul Andrew from Worcester Warriors, both props, and young winger Alex Ducker from Camborne to Mennaye Field.
After finishing sixth in the table in both of the last two seasons, Davies said he hopes the Pirates will be able to push their way back into the play-offs which they last reached in the 2011/12 when they lost to London Welsh in the final.
He admitted the task will be tough with a number of rival clubs splashing the cash on their line-ups, but he believes his own squad is good enough.
Davies said: “We have not set ourselves a target yet for next season and probably will not do so until when the guys come back to training next week.
“However, whatever we set ourselves we have to be realistic as there are clubs like Leeds, Worcester, Jersey and Bristol who have spent a lot of money bringing in players, so breaking into the top four is going to be tough.
“But if we can keep everybody fit then there is no reason why we cannot finish in the top four and ruffle some feathers along the way.”
Following the recent signings, Davies said any further new faces coming into the squad will be on the youthful side rather than players expected to be part of the first team.
With five pre-season friendlies set up before the start of the Championship season, Davies said every member of the team will get a chance to stake their claim in the starting 15.
“For young guys like Alex Ducker coming into the squad playing Championship rugby is going to be a huge step up in class,” he said.
“How much game time a player like Alex gets will depend on how he does in training and with the opportunities he does get.
“But certainly in the pre-season games he and everyone else will get a fair crack of the whip.
“We will be looking to find our best combination for next season and if that involves the younger guys, then so be it.”
The Pirates’ first of five pre-season friendly games will be away in Guernsey on August 9 before playing Rosslyn Park, Aberavon, Camborne and Redruth.