Who would have thought six weeks ago at the start of RWC 2007 that this England squad would have had a cat-in-hell’s chance of successfully defending their World Crown? Certainly not following their 36-0 defeat against the Springboks nor their uninspiring win over the USA in Lens. Yet hard fought wins over Samoa, Tonga and Australia showed that this group of players led by Cornishman Phil Vickery had the resolve and inner strength to battle on never more exemplified than by their dogged win in last Saturday’s semi-final against France in Saint Denis 14-9.

Semi-Finals are by and large tediously dull affairs yet at the same time gripping, this was to prove to be no exception with the outcome going right down to the wire with Jonny Wilkinson drop kicking England into the final next Saturday against South Africa.

It will not have gone unnoticed in the land of the silver fern that England in reaching their third World Cup Final have eclipsed New Zealand (two finals) in rugby’s premier event. Can they go on and create their own piece of history and become the first nation to successfully retain the Webb Ellis Cup? Who would bet against them now?

The Cornish Pirates made it six wins from seven starts with a 24-14 win at Esher in National League 1. The Pirates who have been suffering with a lengthy casualty list saw all their points scored by James Moore and Ollie Thomas and are now fourth in the league.

It was always going to be hard and the reality is settling in at Polson as the Cornish All Blacks lost their sixth league encounter of the current campaign to the Pertemps Bees 32-8. A win which lifts the Bees from the foot of the table vaccating the slot for the CAB’s. Owen Hambly with a try and Stuart Alred with a penalty were the points scores for Launceston. They will look to bounce back this Saturday when they entertain London Welsh at Polson. A few off the field rumblings at Polson which will not help the club as everyone needs to pull togeather to get the team away from the wrong end of the table.

Redruth are another side where it has been far from plain sailing this season. The close season opptimisim of a promotion push has all but evaporated with a ten point penalty hanging over the club following the unfortunate events at Cambridge which have been well documented elsewhere. Following last Saturday’s home reversal against Blackheath a daunting trip to Waterloo awaited. To Redruth’s credit they were in the game and only lost towards the end 25 – 19 to gain a losing bonus point. Redruth also had the satisfaction of scoring three tries through Lewis Vinnicombe, Fale Seve and Mark Bright, with Gareth Griffiths kicking a couple of penalties. A blow for the Reds was Griffiths leaving the field with a broken thumb.

Below the top two National Leagues it was Cup day elsewhere, Mount’s Bay led the way with another comprehensive win over Barking 55 – 19, Bay ran in eight tries with one from Jamie Semmens who was making a welcome return following his broken leg. Trelawny’s Army player of the Year, Lee Jarvis kicked six conversions and a penalty. St. Ives also made the 2nd round draw with a 26-15 win at Bristol Harlequins.

In the Senior Vase Bude defeated Penryn in a close encounter at Bencoolen Meadow 22-21 with Paul Williams kicking the winning penalty for the North Cornwall side. Wadebridge Camels completed a good day for North Cornwall over the Fal estuary with a 39-12 win over Falmouth. Up in the home counties, London Cornish enjoyed a fine win at Trojans 25-24.

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