Exeter Chiefs star Jack Nowell (pictured below) says he and his team-mates are expecting much tougher resistance from French rivals ASM Clermont-Auvergne when the two lock horns again this Sunday in the European Champions Cup, writes Exeter Chief’s media officer Mark Stevens.
Fresh from seeing off last season’s beaten finalists 31-14 at Sandy Park last weekend, the high flying Devonians go head-to-head with the same opponents this weekend at the imposing Stade Marcel Michelin.
Cornishman Nowell knows from past experience that French teams on their own patch are a much different proposition and is expecting a backlash of sorts from the current Top 14 leaders.
“It’s going to be another tough game,” warned England star Nowell. “French sides tend to step it up at home, so the key thing for us has been to recover well this week and prepare right for the next game.
“Obviously we will do our homework on them again and there’s lots to go with from the game we’ve just played. In some ways it’s easy to say do the same as we did in this game, but we know it will be much different over there.”
Although the Chiefs trailed 14-3 during the first half at Sandy Park, Rob Baxter’s side bounced back impressively to secure the all-important bonus try bonus point with scores from forwards Thomas Waldrom (2), Don Armand and Mitch Lees.
Post-match, Nowell – who himself enjoyed a stellar performance – was quick to pay tribute to the Exeter pack, who in recent weeks have not only dismantled rivals from Clermont, but also Harlequins and Wasps.
“The group of forward we have and the way they are performing, they are winning games for us,” added Nowell. “They are putting us on the front foot and then us backs are doing what we do best.”
And even though the Chiefs trailed to one of Europe’s most recognised teams, Nowell insisted there was no panic within the home ranks at any stage.
He continued: “We have been down at times this season, but the belief in the team is massive. A couple of years we may have let it affect us and maybe we would have looked to have changed something.
“We always knew it was going to be tough in the first half, especially against the wind, but the big thing was the belief we had to carry on going, stick to our game plan and know that things will eventually click into place.”
With new England coach Eddie Jones among those watching from the sidelines, Nowell did his own international hopes no harm with an outstanding display, alongside that of man-of-the-match Waldrom.
“I wasn’t aware he was here,” joked Nowell. “For me, it’s all very simple and that’s to play well for Exeter first and foremost. As players you know the only way to get picked for England is by performing well for your club.
“This win is right up there for me. People always ask what is your favourite game and it would be easy to say it’s your first cap. However, the one that sticks in my mind was the Toulon game here a few years back.
“We put in a great performance that day, but to play a side like Clermont like we did today and to beat them in the manner we did, I think that’s probably overtaken that other game now. It’s definitely one of my best moments here.”
The Cornish Pirates came out on top of their British and Irish Cup encounter on Sunday against Cardiff Blues (Premiership Select) at the Arms Park 22-10.
There were two tries from winger Jack Arnott plus a touchdown from skipper Aaron Carpenter with fly-half Laurence May kicking a penalty and two conversions.
Both sides meet again this Saturday at the Mennaye kick-off 3 pm with the Pirates hoping to go one better and get five points from the fixture.
It was great to be able to watch the game thanks to S4C.
On Saturday both our National League 2 sides were defeated.
Redruth travelled to the capital to face Barnes and lost 36-31. They scored five tries through Rob Coote (2), Sam Parsons, Ben Priddey and Ashley Lawton, with Brett Rule kicking three conversions.
So the Reds travelled home with a couple of points but would have wanted more from this fixture and will feel frustrated at having scored five tries and still lost.
The basement battle went the way of Chinnor at Polson Bridge 21-10 leaving the Cornish All Blacks 16 points adrift at the foot of the table. Jake Childs and Ben Hilton scored unconverted tries for the home side.
This Saturday sees Launceston travel west to face Redruth with a 2pm kick-off.
In Tribute South West 1 West, Camborne bounced back from their single point defeat at Newent to defeat Wells 24-0 thanks to tries from Andrius Zacharovas, Taron Peacock and skipper Dave Roberts. Ben Stean kicked two conversions and a penalty with Rhys Brownfield slotting the last conversion.
Town are now 11 points clear at the top and travel to face in-form Thornbury on Saturday, a challenge that Director of rugby Liam Chapple (pictured) is relishing.
In Tribute Western Counties West, it’s a shame to see so many Cornish clubs battling at the wrong end of the table.
St. Austell defeated Penryn 20-10 to keep the Borough firmly at the foot of the table.
Dan Jane and Shane Johns scored tries for the Saints whilst Andy Ashwin landed both conversions and a couple of penalties.
For Penryn Alex Ducker scored a try which was converted by Jake Seviour who also added a penalty.
Truro lost at the death to visitors Tiverton 25-27 at St. Clements Hill with former Launceston player Wayne Sprangle doing most of the damage with three tries.
Matt Symons, Rikki Brandon and “Eggy” Williams scored tries with Williams also kicking two conversions and a penalty. Jake Champion added a third conversion.
Wadebridge Camels leap-frogged Cullompton with a narrow win 17-16 at the Molesworth Field. James Grubb scored a try and kicked two conversions and a penalty, whilst Will Pengelly scored the second try.
Saltash lost at home to Exeter University 21-8. Will Morton scored a try and Max Venables kicked a penalty.
Up in London 2 SW, London Cornish remain in second spot following their 23-10 win at Old Reigatian. Ben Ievers and Craig Chatley scored tries with Josh Allison kicking both conversions and three penalties.
In Tribute Cornwall and Devon League, Bude got back to winning ways following their defeat at home to Withycombe the previous week with a fine 53-12 win at Exeter Saracens. Duncan Tout (3), Joe Wilson (2), Ollie Denford (2) and Dan Pearce (2) scored the tries with Pearce kicking four conversions.
St. Ives came away from Raleigh Park with a fine 23-20 win over leaders Withycombe. Cameron Bone, Bobby Conroy-Smith and Sam Carter scored the Hakes’ tries with Grant Thirlby kicking a conversion and a couple of penalties.
Falmouth Eagles soared to a fine win at Hayle 37-16, John Tyson (2), Tom Edmonds and Chris McColl scored the Eagles tries with Justyn Irons landing all four conversions and three penalties. Hayle contrived to have three men in the bin during the second half scored points from an Ashley White try converted by Scott Harvey who also landed three first half penalties.
Pirates Amateurs defeated Bodmin 46-26 at the Mennaye. Newquay Hornets forfeited their game at Paignton.
In Tribute Cornwall 1, Camborne School of Mines had a walkover against Liskead-Looe to stay top.
Veor stay second following their walkover against St. Agnes.
Two games that were played saw Perranporth win 30-17 at Helston, whilst Lanner won at Illogan Park 17-15.
In Tribute Cornwall 2, Roseland remain top after a narrow 6-3 win at Camelford.
St. Just remain second following their 32-3 win at Lankelly-Fowy. Ben Guy scoring a hat-trick of tries.
Stithians won 27-5 at Redruth Albany.
The Trelawnys Army Colts league is set for a grand finale next weekend following Helston’s 20-7 win at St. Austell on Saturday.
Photo – TASC committee members Trixie Gordon and Marina Trevarton presenting match balls to the captains of St. Austell and Helston Colts.
Tries from Kyle Bradley (2) and John England along with a penalty and conversion from scrum-half Dan Duval sets Helston up for the league so long as they beat St. Ives next Saturday.
St. Austell could still pip Helston if they slip up but they will need a bonus point win at Redruth to do so.
Have to mention Exeter Chiefs’ fine win over Clermont Auvergne on Saturday evening a bonus point 33-14 win to boot.
Another sparking performance from Jack Nowell in front of new England coach Eddie Jones!
A try from flanker Alex Cheesman, in the final minutes of a pulsating match, allowed fly-half Laurence May the chance to kick a conversion to win the game. May didn’t flinch, and the Pirates won their Championship game by a single point 32-31 against Bedford Blues, to earn five invaluable points which sees them climb off the foot of the table.
Trailing 21-10 at the break, the Pirates had to fight back throughout the second half only snatching the lead at the death.
Jack Arnott scored a first half try converted by May who also kicked a penalty.
In the second half Canadian World Cup stars skipper Aaron Carpenter and winger Matt Evans scored tries to bring the Pirates back to within a point, but the Blues stretched away again before Evans scored his second, then Cheesman’s late strike and May’s extras ensured a happy finale for the Pirates.
Cornish Pirates Director of Rugby Ian Davies (pictured) was delighted with attitude and effort from his side especially during the final twenty minutes: “That was a great win. I’ve said we are a momentum team and I think you’ve see that by the way we played in the second half. Brett Beukeboom came on shored up the line out and changed the game.
“Matt Evans was another who was a real warrior for us today, geeing the boys on and getting two tries. Laurence May and Stuart Townsend really controlled the game for us at the end there. These lads are just out of nappies, but showed great maturity today. That last conversion for Laurence was a pressure kick.”
Redruth dug deep to earn a fine 10-7 win at Clifton in National League 2 South, thanks to tries from hooker Richard Brown and No.8 Kyle Marriott, who had another fine game for the Reds.
Cambridge proved far too good for the Cornish All Blacks at Polson Bridge, winning 33-8. Jamie Salter scored CABs’ only try, with Fraser Honey adding a penalty. The result leaves CABs 14 points from safety, which even at this stage of the season sadly looks a tall order.
I was at Camborne’s game on Saturday when the leaders took on second place Bridgwater & Albion in Tribute South West 1 West. The Cherry and Whites made it nine wins on the bounce with an impressive 24-8 win in difficult conditions.
Tries were scored by Richie Kevern (2), James Goldsworthy and stand in scrum-half, DoR 37 year old Liam Chapple, with Ben Stean adding a couple of conversions. The win put Town 9pts ahead of their nearest challengers with a points difference now of +250!
In Tribute Western Counties West, derby day honours went to Truro as they defeated Penryn 28-17. Former Borough star Darren Jacques scored two tries against his old side, with Ben Teasdale and a penalty-try award. “Eggy” Williams added all four conversions.
For the Borough Andrew Seviour and Alex Ducker scored tries with Ducker also kicking both conversions and a penalty.
Wadebridge Camels slipped to a third successive home defeat 13-5 to Kingsbridge, and are now just above Penryn at the foot of the table! Joe Pretty scored their sole try.
St. Austell lost at home to Crediton 19-18, a result that sees them worryingly close to the relegation scrap. Adam Kellow and James Martin scored tries with Cavan Boyer kicking the rest of the points.
Saltash also lost a close game at Moorlands to visitors Torquay Athletic 20-17. Max Venables, Olly Mulberry and Shaun Crawford scored tries, with Venables kicking a conversion.
In Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, Bude kept the pressure on leaders Withycombe, who they met at Bencoolen on Saturday, with a 31-0 win at Bodmin. Tim Green, Freddie Saxton, Olly Mounce, Olly Denford and Duncan Tout scored their tries with Dan Pearce kicking three conversions.
St. Ives won the Penwith derby against Pirates Amateurs at the Mennaye 30-0. Ben Jenkins, Tom Nicholas, Martyn Lawrence and Sam Carter scored tries with Grant Thirlby kicking two conversions and a couple of penalties. A game that ended with a red card for Ams’ Matt Stephens for throwing a punch!
Falmouth slipped up at Paignton 13-8 but picked up a losing bonus point. Justyn Irons scored all their points.
Hayle lost on their travels to Devon 18-13 to Honiton. Mark Lea scored the Lions try with Steve Richards adding the conversion and a couple of penalties.
Newquay Hornets lost at Exeter Saracens 32-21. The Hornets scored three tries through Chris Morris, Ryan Johns and Alex Whitchurch with Johns bagging all three conversions.
In the latest round of Tribute Cornwall Clubs Cup games there were wins for Veor 38-7 over Perranporth, Roseland 31-0 at Lankelly-Fowey, Lanner at home to Stithians 36-0 and Camborne School of Mines 72-0 against St. Just.
In the Trelawny’s Army Colts League Redruth defeated Launceston 39-5.
Cornwall Ladies U18 lost their Tamar Cup clash against Devon 36-12. Cornwall’s tries were scored by Michella Roberts (Camborne) and Rebecca Nightingale (Newquay Queen Bees) with Brittany Andrewartha (Helston Hell Cats) kicking a conversion.
It’s not often I start on a loss, but the Cornish All Blacks showed a lot of character last Saturday in going down at Bury St. Edmunds by a score 29-26.
By all accounts the All Blacks could have nicked the win; such was their pressure on the Bury line near the end. Launceston scored four tries with a brace from skipper Richard Friend and Ben Hilton and Jamie Salter also crossing.
There is no question that already the “Tucker” effect has rejuvenated the East Cornwall side and that the forthcoming Christmas derby will be one not to miss as the team-mates from Cornwall’s 99 championship winning sides Jimmy Tucker and Steve Larkins look for National League 2 Cornish bragging rights!
At Redruth, the Reds won a proverbial game of two halves against a dogged Worthing side 24-16. Despite trailing 13-3 at the break Redruth stormed back with three tries scored by Tom Cowan-Dickie, Brad Howe and Ben Priddey. Brett Rule landed three excellent conversions given the conditions with Rhodri McAtee dropping a first half goal.
The Cornish Pirates maintained their fine start in their British and Irish Cup pool with a 19-7 win at Nottingham.
Craig Holland scored their only try with Laurence May adding the conversion and four penalties.
It’s back to the Championship for the Pirates on Sunday as they look to move up the table when they take on the Bedford Blues at the Mennaye, kick-off 3 pm.
In Tribute South West 1 West, Camborne maintained top spot with a good 20-7 win at Drybrook.
Despite losing Sam Matavesi, who has re-signed for Albion, and a delay in traffic on the M5, the Cherry and Whites scored tries though Sam Bartle and Dave Roberts with Ben Stean added both conversions and a couple of penalties.
This Saturday, Camborne entertains second placed Bridgwater & Albion in what will be a pivotal match in their season.
The only Cornish joy in the Tribute Western Counties West last weekend was Penryn’s welcome 20-15 win at the Memorial Ground against Devonport Services.
The Borough welcomed back winger Alex Ducker, who has re-signed following his departure from the Reds.
Borough scored four unconverted tries through Ben Trevaskis (2), Matt Horton and Andrew Seviour.
Truro lost a tight game 24-22 at Torquay, with Jack Tidball, Darren Jacques and Luke Tidball (2) scoring tries and Alex Suthridge adding a couple of conversions.
St. Austell’s up and down season continues as they lost 30-0 at Okehampton.
Wadebridge Camels lost 15-10 at Sidmouth. Rhys Bright got their try with James Grubb adding the conversion and a penalty.
Saltash slipped up at Crediton 35-23. Eatwell, Crofts and Rayner scored tries with Max Venables kicking the rest of the points.
In London 2 SW London Cornish won at London Exiles 34-9. Josh Allison and Harry Somers scored tries whilst Allison converted his own try and a penalty-try and penalty. Fly-half Phil Dale slotted four penalties.
In the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, the big game was at Bencoolen where Bude just defeated St. Ives 20-17. Olly Denford, Tim Green and Duncan Tout scored tries for the Seasiders with Dan Pearce kicking a conversion and penalty.
Cameron Bone scored a couple of tries for the Hakes both converted by Grant Thirlby who also kicked a penalty.
Falmouth were held to a draw at home by Plymstock 10 – all. Tom Spiller and David Jones scored tries for the Eagles.
Pirates Amateurs won 15-3 at Honiton thanks to a couple of tries from Tom Excel with James Lonsdale adding a conversion and penalty.
Bodmin won 12-8 at Plymouth Argaum thanks to tries from Paul Carter and Guy Taylor with Jamie Taylor adding a conversion.
Hayle lost at home to Paignton 13-11. Scott Harvey kicked a couple of penalties with Tony Matthews scoring a try for the Lions.
Newquay Hornets look set for an immediate return to Cornwall 1 following their ninth loss this time to leaders Withycombe 72-5 at the Sports centre.
In the Tribute Cornwall Clubs Cup pool games played, Liskeard-Looe had a good 46-8 win against Lankelly-Fowey to top Pool A. In the same pool Roseland defeated Camelford 25-10.
In Pool D, School of Mines had a walkover against Albany and Illogan Park defeated St. Just 38-7, for whom Damien Cook scored.
The pool B game between Stithians and Helston was postponed, whilst the result of Perranporth v St. Agnes in pool C is currently unknown!
The Cornish All Blacks stopped the rot last Saturday as they avoided defeat for the first time this season, with a 17-all draw at home to Southend, in what was new head coach Jimmy Tucker’s first game in charge.
Skipper Jamie Salter, No.8 Dan Lee and winger Eddie McGinley scored tries for the National League 2 side with Fraser Honey adding a conversion.
Tucker (pictured) is looking to re-invigorate the club and bring back the old Launceston spirit that saw the club a major force in Cornish rugby. Dave Risdon is set to join as forwards coach as the building blocks are put in place to reverse the club’s decline.
Redruth slipped to 7th place despite picking up a losing bonus point at leaders Taunton as they went down 19-16 at Hyde Park.
Lock Ashley Lawton scored the Reds’ only try converted by Brett Rule, fly-half Dave Mankee kicked three penalties.
The Cornish Pirates got their British & Irish Cup campaign off to a great start when they defeated London Welsh 28-21 at the Mennaye. That result was just what the club needed following the news on Friday that the Secretary of State was NOT going to call in the plans for West Langarth that will provide the funding for the long-awaited Stadium in Truro.
Tries were scored by Joe Atkinson, prop Marlen Walker and winger Jack Arnott with Laurence May kicking the other points.
In Tribute South West 1 West, Camborne remain top following their 51-0 win at home against Coney Hill. Sam Matavesi scored three tries with other scores coming from Harvey Jones (2), Dave Roberts (2), Neil Stanleick and Tony Whittle. Ben Stean added three conversions.
In Tribute Western Counties West, St. Austell had a much-needed win at home against Sidmouth 16-12. Konnor Ewudzi scored the only try for the Saints, whilst Cavan Boyer’s boot added 11 points.
Truro defeated Crediton 29-5 at St Clements Hill. Tries came from Luke Tidball, Ben Teasdale, Toby Armstrong and Luke Trescothick. “Eggy” Williams added three conversions and a penalty.
Saltash’s match against Okehampton was postponed.
Wadebridge Camels lost at home to Tiverton 11-0, whilst Penryn remain bottom following their 50-0 loss at Cullompton.
London Cornish bounced back in London 2 SW following last week’s home defeat when they won 16-9 at Andover, thanks in part to late tries from Stefan Duda and Tom Jeffery.
It’s good to see three Cornish clubs challenging leaders Withycombe near the top of table. Bude are best placed following their 24-5 win at Pirates Amateurs. Ollie Mounce and Duncan Tout (2) scored tries for the North Cornwall side with Dan Pearce adding all three conversions and a penalty.
Josh Blewitt scored the Amateurs’ only try.
St. Ives remain third after their 20-6 win at home to Plymouth Argaum. Lewis Thomas, Ben Taylor and Tom Nicholas scored tries for the Hakes, with Grant Thirlby kicking a penalty and conversion.
Falmouth are the third Cornish side in contention following another fine win, this time at Exeter Saracens 48-28. Chris Pollard, Nick Carne, Mark Lee, David Jones (2), Dan Kirk, Simon Bailey and Ian Rowe scored tries with Justyn Irons’ four conversions.
Bodmin came out on top in the derby at home to Newquay Hornets 15-6. Josh Taylor converted his own try and added a penalty, with Harry Hyland also scoring a try. Veteran Ian Morgan kicked a couple of penalties for the Hornets.
Hayle slipped to defeat at Plymstock 24-0.
In Tribute Cornwall 1, Camborne School of Mines won a close battle against Lanner at Penryn 20-19 to remain top.
Veor beat Liskeard-Looe 26-0 at Wheal Gerry.
Illogan Park defeated Helston 22-10, whilst Perranporth won the “surfers'” derby 22-15 at St. Agnes.
Roseland won the top-of-the-table battle at St. Just in Tribute Cornwall 2 19-7. St. Just have announced that Damien Cook has joined them as a player coach.
In the Trelawny’s Army Colts league a good wins for Helston at Redruth 17-0, St. Austell won 56-5 at Wadebridge Camels, Penzance & Newlyn won 24-10 at Camborne and Launceston defeated St. Ives away 31-10.
When Kyle Evans scored a last-gasp try for Moseley on Friday night to rip from the Cornish Pirates’ grasp a much-needed Championship victory, there was always the chance that the Pirates could end the weekend bottom of the pile.
Ealing’s remarkable win at Old Deer Park against London Welsh left the Cornish side looking up from the uncomfortable and unwanted basement position.
Despite a poor first half, the Pirates trailed just 17-11 at half-time, thanks to a try from Matt Evans and a couple of penalties through Kieran Hallett.
Evans grabbed a second try and then Hallett kicked a penalty to turn the game around 19-17 with just minutes to go, but sadly they couldn’t hang on to the win collecting just a losing bonus point from a 24-19 defeat.
There is a two week break now from league action as the British & Irish Cup pool games start with the visit of London Welsh to the Mennaye next Saturday, there will be much for Ian Davies (pictured) to ponder about.
In National league 2 South, Redruth got back to winning ways with a hard-fought 24-10 win at home to Canterbury.
Four tries were scored by the Reds through Nielson Webber, on-loan from Albion Jack Maunder, Lewis Vinnicombe and a last minute penalty-try converted by Rhodri McAtee. Dave Mankee kicked a penalty.
A difficult game was disappointingly marred by some indifferent officiating; sadly this is the continuation of a trend that is occurring all too often this season at this level.
It would be good to see some more assessors at these games to assist referees in their own development. Maybe the RFU could put some of it’s World Cup windfall in this direction!
The Cornish All Blacks slipped to their ninth straight defeat 30-10 at Redingensians. Robbie Duggard scored a consolation try for Launceston, converted by Lewis Edwards, to add to the Chris Honey penalty kicked earlier.
In Tribute South West 1 West, Camborne have gone top following their 31-11 win at Clevedon.
Sam Matavesi helped himself to three tries with other scores coming from Dave Roberts and Noah Sixton, Ben Stean adding three conversions.
In Tribute Western Counties West, Wadebridge Camels took the honours in the “Doom Bar” derby versus St. Austell, the North Cornwall Brewery Sharps sponsoring both clubs.
Camels 27-20 win came via tries from Joe Pretty, Jack Scott, Danny Thomas and Dom Hawkey, with James Grubb kicking the other points.
For Saints, Cavan Boyer converted his own try and that of Peter Rowe and also kicked two penalties.
Penryn are another Cornish side currently sitting at the bottom of the pile, as they lost at home to leaders Kingsbridge 38-17.
Truro lost at Okehampton 20-6 with just a couple of penalties from “Eggy” Williams to show for their efforts.
Saltash returned from Sidmouth empty-handed following a 44-23 defeat, Max Venables scoring all the Ashes points.
Up in London 2 SW, London Cornish were knocked off top spot following a surprising defeat at home to Portsmouth 19-5, Mark Osei- Tutu with the Exiles’ sole try.
In the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, Falmouth defeated leaders Withycombe 18-17 at the Rec. Dave Jones and Josh Symons scored tries for the Eagles, with Justyn Irons kicking the rest of the points.
St. Ives, as expected, won the derby at Newquay Hornets 45-5. Tries came via Jess Tompsett (2), Martyn Lawrence (2), Ben Taylor, Cameron Bone and a penalty-try, with Grant Champion kicking five conversions. Cheney King grabbed the Hornets’ consolation score.
Bude are pressing near the top following their 36-14 win at Plymouth Argaum. Tries came from Dan Pearce, Joe Wilson, Dan Tout, Will Denford and Tim Green, Pearce also kicked four conversions and a penalty.
Hayle defeated visitors Exeter Saracens 30-17; Neil Mitchell, Tony Matthews, James Bennett and Scott Harvey scored tries with Damien Lynes kicking the rest of the points.
Bodmin won in the league for the second time this season, 15-10 at Tavistock, thanks to three unconverted tries.
Pirates Amateurs game at Paignton was postponed due to a water-logged pitch.
In Tribute Cornwall 1, School of Mines continue to top the table following their 41-10 win at Illogan Park.
Veor remain second after their 39-0 win at Helston.
Lanner had a walk-over against St. Agnes, but a friendly game was played.
Liskeard-Looe won at Perranporth 43-7.
In Tribute Cornwall 2, Roseland are top on maximum points following a 30-0 win at Lankelly-Fowey.
St. Just are a point behind after their win at Redruth Albany 53-0.
Stithians pipped Camelford 19-14 at home.
In the Trelawny’s Army Colts League, there were good wins for both Helston 54-0 against Truro and St. Austell 77-0 versus Saltash.
Redruth won 47-0 at Newquay.
Other games were postponed. Sadly, East Cornwall have pulled out of the league.
Congratulations to Camborne’s Jack Simmons who has been appointed Cornwall Under 20 captain for this season.
It’s always been the case really due to our geography, the far south-west must seem like a different world to those “up country!”
And so we like to be. As with everything, it has its positives and negatives. Sadly the world doesn’t stop at the Tamar!
When it comes to league rugby, the biggest bugbear has been and remains the cost of travel and accommodation, though in increasing cases the accommodation has been ditched in favour of early morning starts and early morning returns, and we wonder why the majority of Cornish clubs don’t do better playing away!
Last Saturday the travel problem was brilliantly illustrated at Camborne, when Chard got held up in the half-term traffic compounded with an accident on the A30. Thankfully the clocks didn’t go back until the next day and despite a 4 o’clock kick-off, a sunny afternoon and the briefest of half-time breaks, the game was completed, just! That was for a team coming to Cornwall from a relatively short distance.
The balance of clubs in National League 2 South has seen a surge in the number of clubs from the London and south-east to the cost of clubs further west….literally!
Invariably, apart from the winners of National League 3 SW & SE, the play-off winner from the runners-up always seems to be from the south-east, where the clubs appear to have greater financial support/backing and player base than those further west. The trend looks set to continue next season.
There has been talk of reforming the leagues and making them more regionalised, but that has been kicked into the long grass thanks to the clubs “up north”.
I spoke to former Redruth captain Damien Cook this week, following the Cornwall Development game at Penzance.
His former club announced that he had decided to stop playing National League rugby, though in some quarters it was taken that he had stopped playing altogether, which is not the case.
There are various factors that have lead to Cook’s decision, some which are between the player and the club and I have no intention, nor is it my brief, of divulging those here, but a major factor in his decision is the travelling and the amount of time involved. It is understandable that after many, many seasons of travelling, and let’s face it Cook has travelled with the Reds to far-flung places such as Blaydon and Tynedale, the novelty starts wear a little thin.
“The commitment to play National League rugby these days is massive,” said Cook, who added, “They say it’s for the south-west clubs, but we are increasingly having more games in the south-east, for the commitment required for me to play at Redruth I have difficulties meeting due to a new job where I am based in Penryn, which is a long commute from down where I live, that means less time with my family which is not ideal. It’s not unknown to get up at 4:30 am to travel to the south-east, play a game and get home the next morning!
“There are some good quality youngsters coming up and for an older player like myself you have to be committed to working harder to maintain the level of fitness needed to compete, which sadly I can no longer give.”
Cook still hopes to play club rugby, albeit at a lower level, and still harbours hopes of playing a part in Cornwall’s campaign this season: “It’s a bit soon to see where I will be playing next. Last Thursday I told the Redruth boys of my decision, which as you can imagine was not easy either for myself or them.
“As far as Cornwall goes, I happy to be involved if selected. Make no bones the competition for selection has increased greatly over the past couple of seasons.”
Match report by Bill Hooper, photos Simon Bryant Iktis photo
Photo Cornish Pirates skipper Tom Duncan takes on the Cornwall pack
The Cornish Pirates ran in nine tries in a sparkling performance against a Cornwall Development side under the lights of the Mennaye
The game was a chance for both camps to run the rule over fringe players and those on the road back to full match fitness following lengthy injury.
Cornwall coach Ian Morgan was pleased with the efforts shown by his squad after just a single training session together: “The stand out moment for me was at the end there where we went through ten phases of play against a professional outfit, the players can take that back to their clubs and work on it.
“I think all twenty-six players that played can take a bow tonight. We had a mix of players who will be competing for both the senior and under 20 squads this season. At times with such a large squad it can be difficult to keep continuity but they all to a man stuck at it.
“In both upcoming campaigns we have got some hard games but I think you saw tonight players coming through. I feel we have a good set-up in both camps. We need experienced players like Damien Cook to guide the youngsters. Last season players like George Jones and Jon Dawe came through and from what I’ve seen tonight there are players there that can come through and make a contribution to Cornwall’s campaign.”
There was a late call up for former Redruth skipper Damien Cook, who contrary to popular belief has not completely retired from the game, but has called time on his National League career.
Photo – Damien Cook came on as a replacement for Cornwall
It didn’t take long for the Pirates to get the first points on the board. Following good work by centre Max Bodilly, taking play into the Cornwall twenty-two, the ball was re-cycled and moved along the line for winger Kyle Moyle to dive in at the Newlyn Gate corner.
Fly-half Laurence May couldn’t add the extras on this occasion but he was on target just a few minutes later adding the extras to the first of skipper Tom Duncan’s brace of tries, as the big No.8 drove over from short-range.
Duncan scored again with a trademark pick-up from the base of the scrum from five meters out, with May bettering the score for 19-0 with barely 20 minutes on the clock.
Cornwall got some go-forward ball earning a penalty that “Eggy” Williams kicked to the corner. From the catch and drive in the murk in the scoreboard corner, referee Kevin Williams spotted a Pirates’ infringement and awarded a penalty try converted by Williams.
Photo – St. Austell’s Ben Chenoweth on the charge
Despite Cornwall making the first of multiple changes during the game, the Pirates were soon back in command scoring two further tries before half-time through flanker Sam Simmonds and hooker Jack Innard, May adding a further conversion for a 31-7 score-line.
The Pirates emptied their bench as well during the second half, but were still too good for a worthy Cornwall side running in a further four tries through Oulton, lock Will Graulich winger Kieran Goss and Simmonds, who also grabbed a second try.
Pirates director of rugby Ian Davies was pleased with his side’s performance and felt that many had put their hand up for a place not just for the forthcoming British & Irish Cup ties but also their next Championship game at Moseley.
Cornish Pirates: B Hopkin (R Brownfield 79), K Moyle (N Sixton 64), M Bodilly (R Coote 64), B Bartlett (T Hendrickson 53), A O’Mera (K Goss 45), L May, J Oulton (T James 58); T Gendall (G Collenette 70), J Innard (T-L Southworth 79), F Deformes (J Tyack ht), W Graulich, B Beukeboom ( B Howe 28), D Lee, S Simmonds, T Duncan (Capt).
Following last month’s game against a Plymouth Albion Development XV, a further game is planned on Friday 30 October v. a Cornish Pirates Development XV. This game will also see the inclusion of U20 players as well as established players from around the County. An initial squad of 40 players from 14 different Cornish clubs were invited to train at St Austell RFC under coaches Graham Dawe, Ian Morgan and strength and conditioning coach James “Earpy” Earp.
The Cornwall Development XV will play the Cornish Pirates Development XV at the Mennaye Field, Penzance, under lights with a 19:45 kick off time.
CRFU Chair Denis Preece said: “This is an important part of players progressing from the under 20 level and, players from clubs who have the potential for pushing senior players for positions in the full county squad. It is great to see so many clubs invited to attend and shows that the CRFU is casting its net far and wide.”
Cornwall Coach Graham Dawe said: “We really appreciate the help and assistance clubs and club coaches have given us in releasing the players for the training and the fixture. We also hope that the additional coaching will be taken back to their club teams, which may help the clubs progress as well” He went on to say; – “We have set two dates where we will be working alongside the RFU development officers within the county, where we hope that players will be able to attend to receive coaching that will help them develop and increase their skills and may encourage some to re-join, or stay playing rugby within their clubs.”
Cornwall U20 team manager Chris Lea commented: “It is a fantastic opportunity for these U20 guys to have been selected and have the opportunity to play alongside more experienced players from around the county. We have had a great deal of interest again this season and are putting together a good squad although we have a tough pool stage. I am sure there are other guys out there who are eligible, and if clubs have players who they think would be eligible and suitable then it is not too late for them to be considered, please send any nominations to email@example.com in the first instance.”
Cornish Pirates: 15 Bertie Hopkin, 14 Alex O’Meara, 13 Max Bodilly, 12 Bar Bartlett
11 Kyle Moyle, 10 Laurence May, 9 Jack Oulton 1 Tyler Gendall, 2 Jack Innard, 3 Francisco Deformes, 4 Will Graulich
5 Brett Beukeboom, 6 Dan Lee, 7 Sam Simmonds, 8 Tom Duncan (capt).
Tommy Lee Southworth, George Collenette, Jay Tyack, Brad Howe, Tom James, Tom Hendrickson, Rob Coote, Rhys Brownfield, Kieran Goss, Noah Sixton.
Cornwall Development XV
Cornish All Blacks
Ben Taylor (Captain)
Cornish All Blacks/Plymouth Albion
Cornish All Blacks/Cornish Pirates
Coaches – Graham Dawe & Ian Morgan
Strength & Conditioning – James “Earpy” Earp