AMBITIOUS Cornish Pirates are looking to take the next step up and club captain Brett Beukeboom says the summer transfer business so far is just what the doctor ordered.

In a busy off-season, the Pirates have brought in former England youth player Suva Ma'asi, fly-half Javier Rojas Alvarez – re-signing after exiting at the end of last season - and New Zealand-born centre Shae Tucker as they bid to become Greene King IPA Championship winners for the first time.

These changes have come after finishing in fifth position last year which, while a seemingly handy position, proved to be a source of great dressing room disappointment for a club with much higher ambitions according to Canadian lock Beukeboom.

“Fifth was not where we wanted to finish,” he said speaking from the Greene King IPA Championship launch event at Twickenham Stadium ahead of the 2019/20 season.

“There were some highs and lows in the season but fifth was not where we saw ourselves in the group, it wasn’t a true reflection on our abilities.

“Our new guys will hopefully make a difference. We’ve added experience to our squad and hopefully they can make an immediate impact, they have in training so hopefully they can allow us to take that next step.

“The extra time for pre-season allows all the new guys to bond a fair bit quicker. We’ve had quite a few new guys and they’ve settled well. It’s been really beneficial this increased time spent together.”

With a new stadium in the pipeline too, the Pirates have even more reason to be cheerful at a time when the club are appearing to go from strength to strength.

This season, though, could be a real acid test with Newcastle Falcons back in the second tier and the likes of Ealing Trailfinders always a strong proposition - Beukeboom says the excitement at the club must be balanced with pragmatism if they are to see results on the field.

He added: “Newcastle are coming down with a Premiership squad so it will be tough but having said that, as we saw last year, anyone on their day can beat anyone.

“It’s going to be a tough league and you can’t take anyone lightly because you do that at your own peril.”

It will be the Trailfinders, last year’s runners up, first up for Cornish at Mennaye Field and Beukeboom is expecting an extremely tough opener from the side who finished 27 points and three places above them in 2018/19.

“Ealing have been a strong side for a while so we know they have a big squad with lots of talent in it,” he said.

“We know they want to contend with Newcastle so it’s going to be a tough first game but one we look forward to.”

The Greene King IPA Championship is the second tier of professional rugby in England. To keep up to date with the latest news and features follow @ChampRugby on Twitter.