Cornwall complete Twickenham preparations

Bill Hooper reports from Camborne, photos by Simon Bryant Iktisphoto

Cornwall completed their preparations for Twickenham with their final training session last night (Thursday 26th May) at Camborne RFC.

Prior to training, it was the usual pre-Twickenham media scrum with BBC Spotlight, Radio Cornwall, Pirate FM and the written press all seeking that quote from the coaches and players!

It was good to see Josh Matavesi, Joel Matavesi and Pale Nonu there helping Cornwall last night: the motto “One & All” was so true!

Photo: Dawe seeks to write a little bit of history with Cornwall

I managed to get a few words with Graham Dawe and asked him for his thoughts going into Sunday. He said: “Well I am really looking forward to it. Cornwall are probably going there as favourites but Cheshire are an unknown quantity. They appear to play an unorthodox, quick game of rugby and give it a fair old go, not too structured. I imagine they have got some good players, having won their three games in the Northern group.”

Having studied Cheshire on the DVD, I asked him if he was confident Cornwall had the game to undo their opponents: “Well, I am not sure,” he joked, “that’s down to our players. If Cornwall are going to win back-to-back titles they have to do it with this team, because it is a well-balanced, magical side. But who knows, it will come down to decisions from the referee, kicks at goal and maybe a couple of powerful mauls, it will come down to a moment when the game changes, just like last Saturday against Surrey: we spoilt their lineout 10 metres from our line and went up-field to score and then go on to win the game what appears comfortably, five tries to one, but it was anything but comfortable.

I asked Graham if he was happier that his side appeared to concede fewer penalties against Surrey than in the previous two games: “It was lower but it was still too high for my liking. I think we gave away two penalties in a row three times last Saturday. You never get any momentum that way. It’s still an imbalance which we are putting down to over-enthusiasm.

I asked him if he had any worries about the noon kick-off: “Well you can get some hot days at this time of the year, but the boys are used to this now. The main thing is to get up in the morning and get their mindset right.”

Would the noon kick-off effect the planning of the rolling-subs? “Not really, the replacements are gut feelings watching the game unfurl, if players look to be falling off the pace then they get pulled.”

Ian Morgan pretty much echoed what Graham said: “It’s going to be tough. We respect Cheshire. Any side that beats Lancashire and wins all three games are proven quality. We have just got to focus on ourselves and do things right.

Photo: Ian Morgan looking for a big performance

“We’ve seen the DVD of their win against Lancashire, but you can’t get too much from that due to the conditions the game was played in. We’ve got to be better than we have in the past three weeks, despite winning. We still are looking for that big performance. Hopefully, we will up our game. The support of Trelawny’s Army will play a big role.”

For Cornwall’s scrum-half Greg Goodfellow, Sunday will be his final game for Cornwall and Cornwall’s favourite Scotsman will want to finish his Cornwall career with a winner’s medal, having missed out last season: “It’s great to be going back there with Cornwall. It was my goal to get back there with Cornwall. Firstly I had to make the squad and get back in the team. I’ve done that. Now I have got to play my part within the squad to get that win. I’ve tasted defeat twice here. Last year I had to watch the boys celebrate their win which was tough to take, but we have got an opportunity to do something special here and retain the Cup. What better way to bow out?

Photo: Greg Goodfellow seeks that Chamionship win to cap County career

“My principal job is to link, but if the opportunity arises I will look for that gap and hopefully take it with the support flooding in behind, to get us on the front foot.”

Asked if he knew much about Cheshire he said: “A couple of my team mates from Chinnor played against Cheshire for Eastern Counties and they gave me a detailed account of their structure of play. They are a hard working team. I think the fact that we have been here before may well help us. Twickenham is a lot to take in on the day. We will have our hands full but we are ready for it.”

I had a quick word also with Sam Matavesi: “I am buzzing, really excited about going. Everyone is here early tonight. We can’t wait to get on with it.”

Photo: Matavesi, a long wait to get back with Cornwall

Sam was involved with Cornwall in 2013, playing the first two games against Gloucestershire and Kent before being involved with Fiji so he is keen to get back to Twickenham and taste the experience with Cornwall: “I’ve been waiting to get back with Cornwall so I could get to Twickenham with the boys. Being with Albion in the Championship prevented me from that so this is a big opportunity for me.”

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