By Phil Westren Cornish Pirates media officer

After all their hard work of recent weeks, the Cornish
Pirates might have felt understandably
forlorn come the end of this pre-season ‘friendly’ played at the Mennaye
Field. However, this had to be balanced by expressing a high level of credit to
the admirable Chiefs whose performance was based on power, pace, and skill
levels that were clinically and accurately applied.

In a quiet, modest and impressive manner Rob Baxter and his
boys certainly made a number of rugby pundits eat their words come the end of
last season, which was their first in the Premiership, and on the evidence of
this display they look more than a good bet to go perhaps go a place or
two  higher than their eighth place

As for the Pirates, a certain amount of realism will have
hit home, and it will now be a test of character. All knew the possible
outcome, although the gap was a little wider than expected, and it’ll be
interesting to see how the squad react, as it is one certainly not to be

Giant centre Sireli Naqeveluki showed his power right from
the start, setting up a try for full-back Myles Dorrian, a summer signing from
Bedford, in just the fifth minute. Argentina’s international fly-half Ignacio
Mieres converted, as the Chiefs proceeded to dominate play.

For the Pirates, centre Tom Cooper tackled with
determination, full-back Rob Cook was as brave as ever under the high ball, and
in the forwards lock Matt Smith was busy about on his debut.

After Mieries slotted a penalty to increase Exeter’s lead,
the Pirates hit back with a well struck effort of their own from fly-half
Ceiron Thomas, who was another debutant on show.

When half-time arrived the visitors held a a thoroughly
deserved 16-3 lead after Mieres had successfully fired two more penalties
through the posts, and there was a feeling that having applied immense pressure
in all areas, and especially at the breakdown, the Pirates were likely in for a
difficult second period.

If home supporters had feared the worst, then they were
right, as on the resumption of play space was created for Exeter wing Mark
Foster to cross for a converted try at the scoreboard corner..

As the half developed, and both sides made changes, the
Pirates did their best to stave off the inevitable onslaught, but they simply
couldn’t cope with what was in front of them – it a case of full credit to the
Chiefs who ran out comfortable winners. They looked hot and ready for
their  Premiership opener against
Leicester in a couple of weeks time, whilst for the Pirates they are for the
present knowingly a little under baked.

Cornish Pirates: 15 Rob Cook, 14  Darren Daniel (Rhodri McAtee 54), 13 Grant Pointer, 12 Tom Cooper,

11 Wes  Davies, 10 Ceiron Thomas (Ryan Westren h/t), 9 Tom Kessell (James Doherty h/t),
8 Kyle Marriott (c), 7 Phil Burgess (Charlie Walker-Blair h/t), 6 Dave Ewers, 5
Ian Nimmo, 4 Matt Smith (Dave Ward 73), 3 Carl Rimmer (Ryan Storer 73), 2 Rob
Elloway (Tom Cowan-Dickie 65), 1 Paul Andrew.

Replacements (not used):  Gavin Cattle

Yellow card:   Ward

Exeter Chiefs:   15 Myles Dorrian,  14 Mark Foster, 13 Sireli Naqelevuki (Jason Shoemark 50), 12 Josh Tatupu

(Matt  Jess 64), 11 Nic Sestaret (Bryan Rennie h/t), 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Kevin
Barrett (Haydn Thomas 72), 8 James Phillips, 7 Ben White (James Scaysbrook 68),
6 Chad Slade (Richard Baxter 68), 5 Tom Hayes (c, Chris Bentley 56)), 4 Aly
Muldowney, 3 John Andress (Chris Budgen 62), 2 Neil Clark (Simon Alcott), 1 Ben
Moon (Hoani Tui 72).


Cornish Pirates – pen: Thomas.

Exeter Chiefs – tries: Dorrian,  Foster, Rennie, Tatupu, Baxter, Thomas, Jess;

cons: Mieres (7); pens: Mieres (3).

Referee:   Ross Campbell (RFU)

Attendance: 2,200


This weekend sees the start of the league rugby season with local interest in National League 2 South with Redruth at home to Shelford, whilst Launceston travel to one of the promotion contenders Old Albanians.

It’s also the first round of the Tribute Cornwall Cup.

The Cornish Pirates continue their pre-season build up with a “friendly” against Worcester Warriors at Sixways

Posted in Bill's Blog

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