"Jersey will be tough opening game," says Pirates coach Ian Davies
Cornish Pirates' head coach Ian Davies has said that Saturday's opening match against Jersey will be a tough encounter labelling the Islanders as one of the strongest promoted team to the Championship.
Speaking ahead of the game, Davies, said: "Jersey will be one of the strongest promoted teams into the Championship. Knowing Ben Harvey they will be very well coached and by all accounts a very large crowd will be in attendance for their first home match. Ideally we would not have played them first up as we have not been able to source a great deal of 'intel' on them so it is little bit of a journey into the unknown."
The Pirates will visit Jersey for the first time since 1975, where they won on that occasion 15-7.
Times have since changed, of course, and having played at Jersey's St. Peter ground when on 'tour', to now play them in the RFU Championship provides a contest of significantly more importance.
The island side, who as champions of National One last season clinched their fifth promotion in eight seasons, will be keen to impress at the higher level - and in front of a big and expectant crowd. As for the Pirates, their aim is simple, which is to go all out to secure a win that would suitably kick start their 2012-13 campaign.
Ben Harvey, son of former 'Pirate' Brett, is the head coach at Jersey, and two former Pirates, scrum-half Nicky Griffiths and centre Tom Cooper, are squad members.
The Cornish Pirates, led again by scrum-half Gavin Cattle, include seven of their new signings in the starting line-up.
Ben Prescott is named at tight-head prop, and Darren Barry and Gary Johnson form the second-row partnership. In the backs, Kieran Hallett is selected at fly-half, Junior Fatialofa and Tom Riley are the centre pairing, and Tom Bedford is named on the wing. Hooker Darren Semmens, lock David Lyons, and centre Alex Cheesman are new faces on the bench.
The Cornish Pirates full selection is as follows:-
Starting line-up: G. Pointer, T. Bedford, T. Riley, J. Fatialofa, M. Evans, K. Hallett, G. Cattle (capt), B. Maidment, P. Burgess, K. Marriott, G. Johnson, D. Barry, B. Prescott, R. Elloway, P. Andrew.
Replacements: R. Storer, D. Semmens, A. Paver, D. Lyons, T. Kessell, A. Penberthy, A. Cheesman.