Cornwall’s head coach Dave “Benji” Thomas, was having to overcome the loss of influential flanker Tom Rawlings for Saturday’s Bill Beaumont Cup opener against Gloucestershire at Cinderford kick-off 3 pm.

The Cornish All Black star has not recovered in time from injury and had to pull out.

In his place comes Redruth and Royal Navy backrower Ben Priddey. Priddey has been in excellent form for his club and featured last Saturday in the Inter-Services match between the Army and Royal Navy at Twickenham.

On to the bench comes experienced hooker Darren Semmens who has spent the past season with the Cornish Pirates.

Ashley Lawton (Camborne) has also been called up to the squad. Lawton has enjoyed a fine season with the Cherry and Whites and scored a try in their play-off defeat last Saturday against Old Centralians.

Gloucestershire as expected have named a side based mostly on the Cinderford side and will be captained by Richmond’s Will Warden.

CRFU President Ken Plummer said “We are now entering the business end of the season; no matches are easy and away to Gloucestershire will certainly not be easy!!!”.

Cornwall face 3 games in the opening group stages in May before the final that is held at Twickenham on Sunday 26th May.

Cornwall head coach Dave “Benji” Thomas said – “The 2013 season will be very challenging, and this first match has allowed us to include some players who were not available for the Tamar Cup squad. From an initial squad of 35 we have now selected our 22; other players will be available for the next game. No one’s place is guaranteed, and competition for squad places is still very much available to all”

Cornwall travel to face Gloucestershire on Friday evening before facing the opposition at Cinderford RFC on Saturday 4th May. The following week they travel to Kent to play at Medway RFC before the home match against Hertfordshire which will be played at Camborne RFC on Saturday 18th May.

Cornwall Captain Ben Hilton said; – “Player’s club seasons have now ended, and it is testament to the boys to extend their season to represent Cornwall” He further commented “The players really respond to the vocal and knowledgeable fans, and urged them to come along and support the team at all of the games”

LATE CHANGE: It looks like the selectors have finally plumped for Sam Matavesi (Plymouth Albion) to start Saturday’s game in place of Tom Rawlings in the back row. Ashley Lawton (Camborne) is confirmed as replacement in place of Josh Lord.

Cornwall: Jake Murphy; Richard Bright (both Cornish All Blacks), Steve Johns (Coventry), Neilson Webber (Cornish All Blacks), Tom Notman; Paul Thirlby; Greg Goodfellow; Darren Jacques, Richard Brown, Craig Williams, Damian Cook (all Redruth), Ben Hilton, Capt, (Cornish All Blacks), Chris Fuca (Redruth),Sam Matavesi (Plymouth Albion), Sam Hocking (unattatched).

Replacements: Darren Semmens (unattatched), Martin Rice, Barry Chapman, Ben Priddey (Redruth & Royal Navy), Matt Shepherd (St Austell) and Lewis Vinnicombe (Redruth), Ashley Lawton (Camborne).

Gloucestershire (Cinderford unless stated): Chris Hawkins, Nevaro Codlin, Barney Pascall (Richmond), Kai Done, Lloyd Stapleton, Mike Wilcox, Sam Arnott (Southend); Chris Bundy, Sam Wilkes (Moseley), Mark George (Stouurbridge), Will Warden, Capt (Richmond), Joe Joyce (Bristol/Dings Crusaders), Will Foden, George Evans.

Replacements: Joe Smart, Nick Selway, Dale Critchley, Luke Allen, Danny Pointon, Liam Hemming (Old Centralians), Spencer Sutherland (Esher)

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