To put it straight, last week did not go well at all for Cardiff A. A 10-22 loss at home to Cornish Pirates, after going 5-0 up and being on the front foot, increased their lead at the top of the group and left us floundering in third. Anything but a return win this weekend would effectively leave us out of the British and Irish Cup.
Cardiff A 10-22 Cornish Pirates: https://cardiffbluesblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/cardiff-a-10-22-cornish-pirates/
Richard Hodges has spoken about working on attacking shape this week, which was what ultimately cost the side at CAP with swathes of possession not being capitalised on. This of course wasn’t helped by key injuries to Owen Lane and Aled Summerhill in the first half, and Will Rees-Hole in the second, but we still should’ve won.
The Cornish Pirates stayed top of the pool after last week’s win followed wins at home to London Welsh and away at Nottingham. Their success in the BIC has been timed with the league form as the Pirates have won their last two league games, having won only two of their previous nine, meaning they arrive in Cardiff on a run of four wins. They beat London Welsh in their last league game at Old Deer Park, 19-38, but still find themselves down in 10th in the Championship. A misfiring attack and a leaky defence haven’t helped earlier in the season, but at least in terms of try scoring, they have improved in the last few weeks.
Before last week there wasn’t a lot to go on in terms of previous encounters, as Cornish Pirates have never played the professional Cardiff side, but there was a pre-season friendly in the South-West for Cardiff RFC at the beginning of the 2009/10 season, which didn’t go so well. Gareth Davies scored 8 points, and Owen Williams came off the bench, as the Blue and Blacks went down 60-1.
Richard Hodges again makes seven changes to the team, but the starting XV comes out of it looking a lot more experienced this week. Some changes are forced, with Owen Lane and Will Rees-Hole are injured, while Dillon Lewis and Tommy Isaacs were both out in Montpellier during midweek. Owen Jenkins replaces his namesake Lane on the left wing, while Adam Thomas comes in at inside centre. Harry Davies’ selection means a re-shuffle with Aled Summerhill starting outside Thomas and Davies slotting in at full-back. Richard Smith is the only surviving back as Gareth Davies and Lewis Jones start ahead of James Thomas and Tomos Williams at half-back.
Meanwhile up front, Joe Jones replaces Dillon Lewis, and in the back row Cam Dolan starts at 8 and Jordan Viggers on the openside in place of James Sheekey and Rhys Shellard, respectively. A very strong and experienced team with a littering of youth, one that should be more than strong enough to get past Cornish Pirates. About time now the A team followed the senior squad in putting together a full, strong performance. Come on Cardiff A!!
Cardiff record v Cornish Pirates: W 0 D 0 L 1
Cardiff A form: WDLL
Cornish Pirates form: WLLLLWLLLWWWWW
Cardiff A top try scorers: Owen Lane and Richard Smith (2)
Cornish Pirates top try scorers: Matt Evans and Jack Arnott (5)
Cardiff A top points scorer: Gareth Davies (19)
Cornish Pirates top points scorer: Kieran Hallett (49)
TBC (IRFU) – All I can find is that it will be an Irish referee, as it has been and will be for all our games.