Photo: Dawe leaves nothing to chance
Cornwall head coach Graham Dawe was pleased, relieved and satisfied that Cornwall had booked another trip to Twickenham next Sunday.
Familiar foes await them at high noon in the shape of Lancashire and it’s game that Dawe looks forward to eagerly. “We know next Sunday will be a huge test for this Cornwall side, it’s a new team it’s a young team but they certainly know how to play for each other.
Dawe was pleased with the performance his side had put on against a fine Herts side. “All credit to our boys, they defended like tigers at times out there, Herts really challenged us and had nothing to lose, we stuck at it. As a coach little things like their final try at the end grates but all credit to them for their effort.
Before the game Dawe had a good look at the Herts side warming up. “Sometimes you pick up things from a side’s warm up, little things that people don’t necessarily notice from the sidelines. It’s down to the boys on the pitch but my job is to give them any little extra information I can on the opposition, 1% can make the difference.
Dawe was pleased with the way Cornwall started the game. “We came out strong and went into the game with a high tempo getting the reward with Matavesi’s first try and we had to be on the top of our game because they did challenge us in the scrums and in the backs, they were strong in the tackle area I thought their back row was outstanding especially their No.6 (Harry Bate) he was a real handful.
Turning to preparations for Twickenham Dawe said. “We have to sit down with the selectors and pick a squad for the final. A lot of lads have been involved but not had a game today, players like Jack Simmons, Robbie Dugard, Richard Friend and Dan Collier who joined the squad this week so we have to weigh up do we need a set-piece game or a complete game, we have to give ourselves the options. Training will be interesting this week, not sure as yet whether we will have one or two sessions.”
Hertfordshire player coach James Shanahan was fulsome in his praise of the Cornish side and the marvellous Cornish support. “When they put that black and gold jersey on they are a different animal, it’s hard enough playing a club side in Cornwall but when they play for the County they are something else. What an occasion fantastic support, they raise themselves massively. I watched their previous two games and I thought they played within themselves but today they were at another level, they controlled the game and thoroughly deserved the win.
“I don’t think the points deduction had too much bearing we knew if we wanted to get to Twickenham we had to win here and fair play to us we’ve scored four tries today.
Shanahan felt that if today was his swansong as player for Herts then it wasn’t a bad way to bow out. “I enjoyed it. We knew last week that Zak Vinnicombe would be out having torn his hamstring against Gloucestershire, we have also had our share of wedding etc restricting player availability.
Photo: Herts James Shanahan fulsome in his praise for Cornwall yesterday
Turning to Shanahan’s role with the England Counties squad he’s looking forward to this season’s tour to Spain. “Fingers crossed all the players selected have come through today unscathed, we have finalised the squad so most of the players know they are going. It’s a strong squad, very competitive with fourteen counties represented out of the 26 players picked, with more than half being debutants which is great.
“We have two hard games against the Basque region, which will be like playing Cornwall they are very passionate about their rugby and then we head to Madrid to play the Spanish national side and they will be preparing for a World Cup qualifier the following week.
And with continuing doubts about the future of the England Counties squad (see today’s Sunday Independent and the Rugby Paper), Shanahan is in no doubt about the importance of the representative side. “Elite rugby is about 2% of rugby players in this country. England Counties is the representative side for the other 98% so it really important. I’ve watched about twenty games looking to formulate the squad the quality of players has been high.
Shanahan also confirmed that Cornish lads Matt Shepherd and Robin Wedlake have been picked for the tour with a few other being close to selection.
Photos courtesy of Simon Bryant Iktis photo