FORMER PIRATES EARN ENGLAND CALL-UPS:
Congratulations were expressed by all followers of the Cornish Pirates last week when it was announced that Jack Nowell, Dave Ewers and Joel Conlon had all received call-ups for England – Jack to the RBS Six Nations squad, Dave to England Saxons, and Joel for England under 20s.
Jack, a product of Penzance & Newlyn RFC's youth section played a number of games for the Cornish Pirates when dual-registered from Exeter Chiefs last season, Dave made 20 appearances in the recent past, and Joel has made 13 during this particular season.
Now added to the list of congratulations are the names of Dave Ward, Sam Hill and Matt Hopper, who have been named in the England Saxons training squad (Dave Ewers included) to face the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds at Kingsholm, Gloucester, this Saturday January 25 (5pm, live on Sky Sports HD1).
Hooker Ward, who made 111 appearances for the Pirates before his departure in 2012, has been in outstanding form for Harlequins of recent, and has received four man-of-the-match awards.
As for Sam, who played in 34 games during two seasons when dual registered with Exeter Chiefs, this strong-running centre steps up from last year's successful England under 20s team.
Matt, another centre, made 36 appearance for the Pirates in 2010/11 before joining Harlequins. Called into the squad on Monday, he featured in the 2012 victory over the Wolfhounds.
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MATCHDAY MAGIC AT THE MENNAYE:
Is Your Team Going To Be A Part Of It?
Alongside the many improvements at the Mennaye Field, this season has also seen the introduction of the Matchday Experience for groups visiting the Cornish Pirates.
So far several groups from schools and clubs from across Cornwall have participated in the experience, which has allowed them to take advantage of some of the following fantastic opportunities:
• Rugby development sessions delivered by Cornish Pirates 1st XV players & qualified coaches
• 1/2 time 'tag' rugby on the field (weather dependant)
• Q&A Sessions with Cornish Pirates players
• Guard of Honour duties as the teams run out onto the field
• Pre-match photos with Pirates players
• Photos & articles on your team in the Matchday programme
• Unique group ticket offers
Wadebridge Camels coach Nigel Spencer said: "We organised a trip for 100 children and nearly 100 adults to the Cornish Pirates versus Bristol game. All the children took part in pre-match coaching and got to meet the Pirates players, and together everyone enjoyed what was a great game of rugby. We will definitely be doing it again!"
In order to make this opportunity as accessible as possible to all clubs across Cornwall, tickets are only £1 for U16s and £13 for adults (if bought in advance).
On top of this the Cornish Pirates will also give a free adult ticket to the group with every 14 child tickets bought.
To put this into perspective, a squad of 25 players and two coaches could visit the Mennaye Field and take part in the above activities all for the minimal price of just £38.
For more information please contact the Cornish Pirates Community Manager, James Coles,
telephone 07889 536861/email firstname.lastname@example.org
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PIRATES RECEIVE SCOTLAND'S CUP OF FRIENDSHIP:
The Cornish Pirates were delighted to welcome Ayr RFC to the Mennaye Field last recently, for what was a first time visit by the Scottish club.
It was also remembered that when the two teams met at Ayr's Millbrae ground last October, the hospitality extended to the Pirates and their supporters was superb, and therefore the Pirates were, in true sporting fashion, rightly keen to reciprocate.
On behalf of the Cornish Pirates, Director Anita George organised that club officials from Ayr enjoyed a sumptuous meal in the clubhouse before the game, when a Penzance & Newlyn RFC plaque, as is tradition when a side visits for the first time, was also presented to the visitors.
The President of Ayr RFC, Billy McHarg, received the plaque, whilst they had already planned that the Pirates should be given a gift in return. The gift that Billy actually presented to Ian Connell, was a 'Quaich', which is more commonly known as 'Scotland's Cup of Friendship'.
The Quaich was for centuries a common domestic utensil which originated in the West Highlands of Scotland. It was the dish from which the Scot supped his porridge and drank his ale. 'Quaich' is derived from the Gaelic 'cuach' which, in turn, derives from the low Latin word 'caucus' – a drinking cup.
As for the pewter Quaich presented to the Pirates, it is engraved with suitable wording that records Ayr's visit to the far south west of Great Britain, and as a true Cup of Friendship it will now go on display in the Pirates 'Westholme' clubhouse.
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MOMENTS OF MAGIC TO REMEMBER:
Below is kindly reproduced courtesy of 'The Rugby Paper'. Two former Pirates are mentioned, namely Matt Hopper, who featured 36 times for the Pirates in 2010/11, plus Luke Cowan-Dickie, who is proudly a product of Penzance & Newlyn RFC's youth section.
Harlequins needed a miracle to get out of the Heineken Cup pool stages but sometimes even a miracle is not enough.
While their 16-13 defeat to French giants Clermont ended their European campaign, the Stoop was lit up by a moment of magic from Danny Care in the first-half.
Following a kick through from captain Chris Robshaw, the England scrum-half managed to get to the ball just in time before it went into touch.
With no room to manoeuvre, he kept the ball alive with a neat inside flick round the back to find Matt Hopper who raced over the line.
Tries from Napoleoni Nalaga and Sitiveti Sivivatu eventually clinched it for the French but such class from Care can’t be denied.
So in honour of this amazing piece of skill, Nick Verdier looks back at other memorable pieces of magic on a rugby pitch.
Brock James - Clermont
Clermont are unbeaten at the stade Marcel Michelin for 70 games now but, trailing 26-23 with ten minutes to go against Brive back in October, James stepped in to win the game in sensational fashion and keep the staggering record alive.
Clermont were on the attack and captain Aurelien Rougerie’s inside pass sent James downfield only for the Australian playmaker to be tackled a couple of metres short.
But just before he hit the ground, he flicked the ball behind his back to set-up winger Napoleoni Nalaga with the match-winning try.
Carlos Spencer - New Zealand
In his time, King Carlos was arguably the most innovative player in World Rugby and his pass through the legs in the 2003 World Cup quarter-final against South Africa only proves that.
With a 24-9 lead and less than ten minutes to go, the All Blacks had the game won so the former Northampton and Gloucester fly-half thought he’d try something new.
As Justin Marshall attacked the blindside, his pass was too low and the Springboks defence was already on Spencer’s back when he turned around and flicked the ball through his legs to send Joe Rokocoko over in the corner.
Brian O’Driscoll grabbed the headlines last month with a similar pass in Leinster’s demolition of Northampton in the Heineken Cup.
Luke Cowan-Dickie - England U20
As mentioned in my column last week, the Exeter hooker and No.8 Jack Clifford are two of England’s future stars so it is no surprise to see magic happening when the two combine.
After a difficult first-half, England’s next generation started to get the upper hand against France in the Six Nations but Clifford’s try sealed the win on their way to European and World glory.
With ten minutes left in the game England attacked wide but the French winger stepped in to tackle Cowan-Dickie.
Or he thought he did as by the time he made his tackle the ball was long gone following a brilliant flick from the Chief to see Clifford score untouched.
Simon Zebo - Ireland
Is there anything worse in rugby than a forward butchering a try with a poor pass and a big overlap?
Not really but something special can help you recover from it and that’s just what Simon Zebo did in the opening game of the Six Nations last year.
As Jamie Heaslip looked set to have stopped the Irish in their tracks, Zebo showcased amazing footballing skills flicking the ball back with his foot to keep going forward.
He didn’t score but Cian Healy did from the next phase and the Irish were on their way to a 30-22 win at the Millennium.
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* For more news from the Cornish Pirates pick up a copy of this week's Cornishman, Cornish Guardian and West Briton.