Cornwall travel to Hoe Lane, home of Hertford RFC for Saturday’s winner takes all encounter with Hertfordshire, at stake a place in the final of the Bill Beaumont Cup on Sunday 1st June against in all probability holders Lancashire who defeated Cornwall in the 2013 final.
Both sides come into the match with identical records having both secured try-scoring bonus points in their previous two encounters.
Hoe Lane has proved an unhappy hunting ground for Cornwall in recent seasons however Cornwall coach Ian Morgan knows how to win on the ground as he kicked Cornwall’s winning points there in 2010 when Cornwall won 32-30 under the captaincy of Mark Richards.
Ryan Westren, Darren Jacques, Damien Cook, Ben Hilton, Tom Rawlings, Lewis Webb and Tom Notman are all survivors from that match day 22, no lacking of experience there then!
PHOTO DAMIEN COOK POWERS THROUGH HERTS LAST SEASON
Cornwall coach Ian Morgan said; – “The match against Gloucestershire was never going to be easy with people’s expectations high after last week’s win over North Midlands. Everyone involved with the squad knew this was going to be a tough mountain to climb; Gloucestershire teams are renowned for their power and were out to avenge their defeat of last week against Hertfordshire. The sun was lovely for the spectators but was really telling on the players and so we used our rolling substitutions and lots of hydration during the game. Everyone involved played with heart and pride to ensure a climax to the pool stage next week at Hertford RFC”.
Ian went on to say;- “The game on Saturday will be as difficult as any we have faced this season with Hertfordshire out to avenge the result of last season. They have a strong pack, fast backs, and on their home patch will be a real test for us. We will be working with our guys in training this week and travelling up on Friday night, we will travel with confidence in our abilities to get the job done.”
Changes there will have to be with prop Jamal Ford-Robinson selected to play for England Counties U.20’s against Georgia U.20’s on his club home pitch at Volac Park Cambridge, whilst backs Lewis Vinnicombe is unavailable this Saturday and Lewis Paterson has been forced to rule himself out of the rest of Cornwall’s campaign for personal reasons. Rupert Freestone is still unavailable after picking up an injury in the North Midlands game whilst Ben Priddey hasn’t recovered from the injury he sustained against Gloucestershire.
PHOTO RHODRI MCATEE BACK IN THE SIDE TO FACE HERTS
On the plus side winger/utility back Rhodri McAtee is available this week following his trip to the Amsterdam 7’s tournament and he replaces Vinnicombe on the wing. Darren Jacques steps up from the bench to start at loose-head prop.
The bench sees the return of Richard Brown (Redruth) as hooker cover with Jess Tompsett (Redruth) coming into the starting 22 as prop replacement for the first time in a Championship game. Sam Parsons completes a trio of new faces in the match-day 22 from Redruth as centre cover in place of Paterson, whilst Cornish All Blacks’ fly-half Jake Murphy completes the half-back cover with St. Austell’s Matt Shepherd who along with lock Bryn Jenkins (Cornish All Blacks) and back row Tony Whittle (Falmouth) are on the bench for the third game running.
PHOTO TRELAWNY’S ARMY WILL TRAVEL EN-MASSE TO HERTFORD SUPPORTED BY MANY CORNISH EXILES
Youngsters Joel Matavesi, who was on the bench at Camborne last week, is a travelling reserve along with Cornwall U.20 prop Tyler Gendall from St. Ives.
Cornwall Captain Ben Hilton was happy with his side’s performance against Gloucestershire. He said; – “This game proved that we have an excellent squad and team ethos, with players wanting to pull on the jersey and win!!! There were some tired bruised and battered bodies at the end of the game these guys fought hard for the shirt today. But having those young people form a tunnel as we ran onto the pitch was awesome, then their finals being played in front of such a crowd must have been a great rugby experience for them all”.
He further commented “This was a massive game and the crowd gave Gloucestershire a real Cornish rugby welcome, vocal but fair. The people who come to support us are second to none; you just have to see the attendance figures elsewhere to know we are the best supported county in the competition so a big thank you and it would be great to see so many of you at Hertford RFC next Saturday”.
Cornwall’s Number 8 Barrie-John Chapman knows that the game on Saturday is going to be a massive test for both sides. “They (Herts) know we are not going to travel all that way and gift them the game. We want this and it’s going to come down to who wants it the most on the day, I know we will go there and give 110% and hopefully we can come away with the win.”
It promises to be a titanic clash with the winners earning the place in a Twickenham final. Cornwall by virture of being the away side will be underdogs at Hertford but that will be a position that will favour them. They have the heart and determination to succeed as they long as they keep their discipline and take the points on offer then I feel that they can win their place at another Twickenham showpiece final.
CORNWALL: 15. Kieron Lewitt (Cornish All Blacks), 14. Rhodri McAtee (Redruth), 13. Ryan Westren, 12 Nielson Webber (Both Cornish All Blacks), 11. Tom Notman (Redruth), 10. Lewis Webb (Cornish All Blacks), 9. Greg Goodfellow (Redruth); 1.Darren Jacques (Truro), 2.Jamie Salter (Cornish All Blacks), 3. Craig Williams (Reduth), 4. Ben Hilton (Cornish All Blacks, Capt), 5.Damien Cook, 6.Chris Fuca (Both Redruth), 7.Tom Rawlings, 8.Barrie Chapman (Both Cornish All Blacks).
Replacements: 16.Richard Brown (Redruth), 17. Jess Tompsett (Redruth), 18. Bryn Jenkins (Cornish All Blacks), 19. Tony Whittle (Falmouth), 22. Sam Parsons (Redruth), 23. Jake Murphy (Cornish All Blacks) 24. Matt Shepherd (St. Austell).
Reserves to travel: Tyler Gendall (St. Ives), Joel Matavesi (Camborne)