The Cornish Pirates continued their pre-season preparations with hard-fought 31-29 win against Welsh Premiership side Aberavon at the Mennaye.
It was typical curate’s egg pre-season fare, good in parts, plenty of work to come as conceded Director of Rugby Ian Davies post match: “It was entertaining, both sides looked to throw the ball around, both sides scored some cracking tries, a few defensive lapses but it is what it is – pre-season.
“I was pleased with our performance at the breakdown and in the collision; we worked on that during the week knowing how Welsh sides go about that area. We didn’t drive too much today, that’s still work in progress but if it had a Championship game you would have seen more of that.
“We fell foul of the referee a little during the second half, having benefited from the decisions during the first half – just one of those things.
“We are having a look at Chris Morgan playing in the second row. It’s a natural progression, as we have got a lot of competition for places in the back row. I think John Stevens had a good game, probably man-of-the-match for me, he did really well playing the full eighty.
“We look to have great competition all over the park for places, and that’s got to be a good thing for the squad a whole. Maybe last year the gap between first and second team was greater, but now there are a lot who can put their hand for that first team berth.”
First half scores from Stevens No.8 Laurie McGlone and centre Tom Hendrickson, plus the boot of Kieran Hallett, put the Pirates in a good position at half-time 24-10.
The pick was McGlone’s training park score off the top of a lineout and a great angled burst to the line.
Aberavon, who had scored a couple of first half tries through impressive winger Aaron Grabham turned the game on it’s head with further tries from scrum-half Dave Pritchard, full back Richard Carter and replacement David Evans with fly-half James Garland converting two of the scores.
Pirates roused themselves during the final moments to snatch the win thanks to a converted try from Laurence May.
Congratulations to Luke Cowan-Dickie, who came on during the second half of England’s 19-14 win over France in the first of the warm up games for the Rugby World Cup, to earn a first cap.