Cornish Pirates 29, London Scottish 14

There was no lack of incentive for the Pirates to win this important final Pool 3 game in the Championship Cup, writes Phil Westren.

They had already been beaten by ‘Scottish’ in away games this season, once in the Cup and once in the league, whilst in this encounter they also had the chance of earning a home quarter-final in the competition. Ultimately, despite Nottingham winning the pool and the Pirates narrowly finishing second, they were successful on both fronts.

Changes for the Pirates from the team that won against Yorkshire Carnegie the previous weekend saw returns to the starting line-up for full-back AJ Cant, half-backs Javier Rojas Alvarez and Jean-Baptist Bruzulier, flanker Fa’atiga Lemalu, skipper Brett Beukeboom, and front-rowers Tom Cowan-Dickie and Jack Andrew.

Looking for a good start to the game, for the Pirates it was anything but, as the visitors scored two converted tries in the first 10 minutes. Fly-half Will Magie was first over the line, charging down a kick and also converting his score to the right of the Newlyn posts. Then, to silence the home crowd, space was created on the right for wing Rob Stevenson to take advantage and Magie to again add the extras.

As the Pirates at last settled into the match, pressure was created into the London Scottish ‘22’ and an unstoppable driving maul ended with Number 8 James McRae scoring at the Penzance posts. Rojas Alvarez the slotted the simple conversion on offer.

Buoyed by their opening score more of the same was clearly the aim, and ‘more’ it indeed was, with backs adding their eight to another potent driving maul and Cowan-Dickie identified as the scorer of a converted try. The Pirates appeared to be in the ascendancy, however the half-time whistle came a little early for the score to stay at 14-all.

When the second forty got underway it was London Scottish who immediately threatened, it taking a try-saving tackle from Cant to thwart such ambition.

The Pirates strived to play with real ambition but initially made errors to frustrate. However, after McRae made a telling 30 metres burst, it was prop Jack Andrew who lent excellent support to score to the right of the Newlyn posts. Having taken a lead for the first time in the match, replacement fly-half Will Cargill also added an extra two points.

The use of further replacements added to the impetus now being witnessed, with the chance of securing a bonus point providing fourth try suddenly looking likely.

Playing with extra confidence and control, patience was also the key. Bruzulier showed his experience, and spotting Wedlake in his more familiar place on the wing, the pass was timed for him to squeeze in at the old Western National corner.

Cargill’s conversion attempt missed before in the last-minute his penalty strike brought proceedings to a close.

Understandably pleased overall with the outcome, Coach Gavin Cattle commented:

“We were very slow out of the blocks, especially in that first quarter, however we clawed our way back in thanks to our set piece, so a big shout to our forwards for their effort.

“There were times when we perhaps tried to create something out of nothing and made mistakes, but in the second half the impact off the bench was pleasing and we eventually played where we wanted to territorially, applied pressure and looked after the ball better.”

At the time of writing official confirmation is awaited, however the home quarter-final for the Cornish Pirates, scheduled for the weekend 22nd February, is expected to be against Coventry.

Cornish Pirates: 15 AJ Cant (Rory Parata 55), 14 Alex O’Meara, 13 Robin Wedlake, 12 Callum Patterson, 11 Maliq Holden, 10 Javier Rojas Alvarez (Will Cargill 55), 9 Jean-Baptist Bruzulier (Alex Schwarz 70); 1 Jack Andrew (Marlen Walker 59), 2 Tom Cowan-Dickie (Dan Frost 59), 3 Craig Mitchell (Sam Rodman 59), 4 Danny Cutmore, 5 Brett Beukeboom (captain), 6 Fa’atiga Lemalu, 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri (Tom Duncan 70), 8 James McRae (Paddy Ryan 71).

London Scottish: 15 Joe Luca Smith (Harry Sheppard 32), 14 Rob Stevenson, 13 Elliott Creed, 12 Matt Gordon, 11 Luke Hibberd, 10 Will Magie (Dan Barnes 68), 9 Josh Barton (Charlie Gowling 74); 1 Jordan Brodley (Ryan Eveleigh 74), 2 James Malcolm (Ollie Adams 70), 3 Kyle Whyte (Phil Cringle 55), 4 Nodar Cheishvili (Matas Jurevicius 59), 5 Alex Toolis, 6 Luke Frost (Jack Ingall 70), 7 Lewis Wynne (captain), 8 Matt Eliet.


Cornish Pirates – tries: McRae, Cowan-Dickie, Andrew, Wedlake; cons: Rojas Alvarez (2), Cargill; pen: Cargill

London Scottish – tries: Magie, Stevenson; cons: Magie (2)

Referee: Charles Gayther (RFU)

Tribute ‘Man-of-the-Match: Callum Patterson

‘Glengoyne’ Try-of-the-Match winner: Jack Andrew

Attendance: 1,300