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Dominant Pirates on brink of home semi

By West Briton  |  Posted: January 17, 2013

By Dick Straughan

Neb Mercer and Sam Hill get stuck in for the Cornish Pirates against Dundee. Picture by CIoSP.

Neb Mercer and Sam Hill get stuck in for the Cornish Pirates against Dundee. Picture by CIoSP.

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Cornish Pirates 34, Dundee High 14

SIX tries from the Cornish Pirates eased them into the quarter-finals of the British & Irish Cup as they brushed aside the challenge of a spirited, but out-gunned, Dundee High side.

The Pirates now need to avoid defeat in Wales on Saturday against Carmarthen Quins to earn a home draw in the final eight of this season's tournament, and will be firm favourites to extend their six-game winning run.

Sam Hill's second minute converted try gave the home side the perfect start and although quickly pegged back by two Jack Steele penalties, the Pirates never looked back once Kieran Hallett had expertly engineered his own try after 27 minutes.

Outrageous

Four more touchdowns followed as Hallett and Hill bossed the midfield with the Pirates almost able to score when they wanted to.

And Wes Davies put the gloss on a fine individual display as his outrageous dummy two minutes from time left the Dundee defence floundering and the try-line at his mercy.

That said the Pirates did struggle with the interpretation of Welsh referee, Neil Perkins, both at the scrum and in the tackle area while Dundee once again refused to accept defeat easily.

They were hampered by the pre-match withdrawal due to injury of Scotland international full-back Rory Lamont and the first half loss of scrum-half Robbie Lavery to injury.

But Number 8 Richie McIver carried the ball strongly throughout and Gav Robertson added a deserved late try to Jack Steele's three penalties.

Three tries in each half did the damage for the Cornish Pirates with Hallett and Burgess also scoring before the break before two second half tries from Wes Davies coupled with a first competitive try for the club from lock David Lyons completed the scoring.

Pirates head coach Ian Davies was happy to see his team progress in the competition although he felt that the performance lacked their recent level of Championship intensity.

He said: "We played some good rugby today but caps off to Dundee because they kept going right to the end.

"With the number of changes we made to the team today I thought we did well.

"To be honest we didn't go out for the bonus point because it was all about getting the win and getting through to the quarter-final.

"Three-nil would have done, but it was about making sure we got through after all the hard work."

He continued: "We tried to play a bit and most of the tries were good but I don't think we played with a lot of intensity due to what we were doing and we scored when we wanted to.

"I'm not being disrespectful to Dundee but if it had been Nottingham or Bristol today you would have seen a lot more intensity from us."

The Pirates lost Tom Kessell and Kieran Hallett to second half injuries which Davies described as "a worry" but Tom Duncan came off the bench to make his debut in the back row earning praise from his coach for his efforts.

The Welshman also singled out lock Dave Lyons and explained: "There are one or two Premiership clubs sniffing around him and you can see why because he is a big physical presence.

"He's go to make sure that he does the basics well week-in week-out and at the moment that is what he is doing."

But the Pirates boss warned that his team need to be "a bit smarter" in handling different referees and their interpretations of the laws.

He said: "We had a Welsh referee here and have got an Irish referee next week.

"Their interpretations are a bit different and we need to switch on to that. We scrummaged well without getting the reward we deserved and we have to be more clinical in the opponents' 22."

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