Cornish Pirates v Doncaster Knights Preview

By Phil Westren

Sunday 26th March 2017
Greene King IPA Championship Rd 20
Mennaye Field Penzance

Gates / Food / Bars Open 13:00
Kick Off 15:00

A real Championship battle is expected at the Mennaye Field, Penzance, on Sunday (ko 3pm), when the Cornish Pirates and Doncaster Knights come face to face in search of important league points.

A win for the sixth-placed Pirates would help keep alive their hopes of ultimately making the play-offs, whilst victory for the presently fourth-placed Knights could only benefit their quest to cement a top four finish.

For what is the Pirates penultimate home league game of the season, and with the forecast looking good for a match of such importance, a big crowd is expected. Also, on the day, home supporters will be able to vote for their considered ‘Player of the Season’.

Full-back Toby May will be making his 50th appearance for the Pirates, in a team that shows a number of changes from the one that lost away to London Irish last Saturday. Welcomed back into the starting XV are locally raised dual-registered players Max Bodilly and Tom Hendrickson, who both featured for Exeter Chiefs in their narrow Anglo-Welsh Cup defeat against Leicester last Sunday. Max is selected on the wing and Tom will partner Nicolas De Battista in the centre. Laurence May slots back in at fly-half and included on the bench is lock Josh Caulfield who returns from his time with the England under 20s squad.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s game against Doncaster Knights, Cornish Pirates’ coach Gavin Cattle has said:

“They are a good team, well established and have been around the top of the league in recent seasons, so we are aware it’s going to be another tough contest and that we mustn’t underestimate the threat posed. Our prep however, has gone well, and having a number of our dual-registered players back provides a boost.

“We have been under pressure of recent, but I have been proud of the boys and if we can return to winning ways then it would be an achievement and great for both them and the club. It would also perhaps keep our chances of making the play-offs alive.”

The Cornish Pirates full selection is as follows:-

Cornish Pirates:   15 Toby May, Kyle Moyle, 13 Tom Hendrickson, 12 Nicolas De Battista, 11 Max Bodilly, 10 Laurence May, 9 Alex Day; 1 Marlen Walker, 2 Jack Innard, 3 Paul Andrew, 4 Chris Morgan (c), 5 Brett Beukeboom, 6 Jake Parker, 7 Dan Lee, 8 Tom Duncan.

Replacements:   16 Jack Andrew, 17 Luke Chapman, 18 Josh Caulfield, 19 John Stevens, 20 Mike Pope, 21 Will Cargill, 22 Jack Arnott.

Referee:   Matthew O’Grady (RFU)

Assistants:   Simon Adams & Gareth Copsey

4th Official:   Daniel Collins      Assessor:   Steve Leyshon

Will spoke to Nick George for a preview of tomorrow's crucial encounter which you can hear below.