BRITISH & IRISH CUP – POOL A
CORNISH PIRATES 54 – 31 CURRIE
Despite his side’s solid start to the defence of their British & Irish Cup Pirates’ High Performance Manager Chris Stirling was measured in his enthusiasm for his side’s performance “It was sketchy it was up and down, when we needed to we really lifted it and played our game and played some really good stuff but in between we slumped and were pretty average to be perfectly honest. We had opportunities we produced some good tries and then were guilty of going to sleep and the opposition all credit to them came here with an attitude of keeping the ball in hand, I don’t think they kicked much all afternoon from hand, and played with some good width and found lots of holes.
Stirling was again concerned about the penalty count against his side “I’ll have to look at the DVD of the game as it’s not always easy to see what’s happening from our position behind the posts, we got pinged for off-side and at the break-down and at times our discipline probably hurt us.
“Defensively we were poor, we were lazy and slow to get into position, if your not in position early you can’t have vision up the field and identify threats and move up to counter them, we created problems for ourselves and the opposition were good enough to take them.
Despite the shortcomings identified by Stirling, which he will look to address during the week he was pleased with his side scoring eight good tries “There were some satisfying aspects of the game there were some high points, but we need to eradicate the errors.
Stirling acknowledged that Currie had played their part in an entertaining game, “They came with the right attitude and I commend them on that, they backed themselves and kept the ball in hand going through multiple phases. If Currie continue to play that way then on their own patch they will cause some teams from the Championship problems.
Stirling was also pleased with prop James Currie’s performance “He went well, I think all the guys who started who hadn’t had a lot of rugby went well, James scrummed hard and worked well, he’s a good round the field player.
Looking ahead to Wednesday’s evening match against Birmingham & Solihull (subject to ground conditions in Birmingham) “I am looking forward to that game back into the Championship, the Bees are very much like today’s opponents Currie in the style they play, so we will be working on defence prior to the game. Then next weekend it’s back to the Cup with Leinster here next Sunday, they will be pretty abrasive and they will back themselves. It’s two to qualify from each group this season but the bonus for the group winners is that they will have a home quarter-final against a runner-up from one of the other pools”.
Currie’s head coach Ally Donaldson though disappointed with the result was nevertheless pleased with his side’s performance “We haven’t played in three weeks neither have we been able to train outside for two weeks until last night, we are disappointed with the final score, in the circumstances we were stepping up a level today, we are pleased with the performance but disappointed with the margin of the final score-line.
“We had a couple of chances to get within a score of the Pirates, but they are a quality side and were able to step up a gear when required, they are a very clinical team, it’s a step up in standard from the Scottish Premiership, hopefully we can learn from that and improve, we’ve got Worcester next Friday night up at Currie if we learn some lessons from today then hopefully we can put together another performance and get a better result.” On this performance Currie will certainly give the Warriors a tough game on home soil.
Donaldson was happy with his backs – who despite being shorn of a couple of regulars out with the Scotland 7’s side in George – showed some good flair against the Pirates, “Hopefully (Dougie Fife and James Johnson) will be back for next week we have some good youngsters coming through players like full back Tom Brown and fly-half Matt Scott have played for Scotland U.20’s others have played for the Scottish Clubs International side.
Despite having to concede ground advantage to get the game played Donaldson was pleased to get a game under his side’s belt “Without a doubt it’s been a great experience for our boys coming down here to play, we see the British & Irish Cup as a development tool for us to improve individually and collectively especially our young boys, Fergus Scott who came on as replacement hooker has only just turned 18 and this will stand him in good stead”.