CORNISH Pirates head coach Ian Davies felt that his team had probably turned in their best all-round 80-minute display of the season after they shut out Jersey in their crucial British and Irish Cup Pool Six tie at St Peter.
A fourth bonus-point win in four games in the group not only booked the Pirates’ place in the quarter-finals scheduled for the first weekend in April, but underlined their credentials as serious contenders to regain the trophy they lifted in 2010.
First-half tries from Kyle Moyle, Jack Andrew and James Phillips broke the resolve of the Islanders, who also had prop Nick Selway and skipper Alex Rae sin-binned late in the first half, before full-back Kieran Goss ran the length of the field off turnover ball on 51 minutes to kill the tie stone dead.
A delighted Davies said: “It was a fantastic performance. We had spoken all week about how we had played Jersey twice this season and not had an 80-minute performance against them. We should have won here in the league and they should have won last week at the Mennaye.
“But here you saw that 80-minute performance. It was a complete performance both in attack and defence and to nil Jersey at home as well as picking up a four-try bonus point was very satisfying indeed.”
He continued: “We had talked all week about playing for 80 minutes and to a man did that. I don’t think there was a single facet of play we did not dominate. The British and Irish Cup is very important to us and now we aim to put (this group) to bed when we play Ayr at the Mennaye next month.”
Davies had been unhappy with the way the scrum was managed when the teams had met in Cornwall seven days before, but here in the Channel Islands, referee Andrew Jackson took a different approach of which the Welshman approved.
“The scrums were different here because they were square, stationary and well controlled by the referee,” he said. “As a result we saw Jersey going backwards and the penalties awarded to the Pirates.”
And he also paid tribute to on-loan Exeter Chiefs No.8 James Phillips, who scored his second try in three games for the Cornish side as he crashed over the line last in the first half.
“James is a class act,” said Davies. “He is an immense ball carrier and has given us a lot of go-forward in the two weeks he has been with us.”
The Pirates have the 26-year-old on a one-month loan and hope to have him available for the Championship derby against Plymouth Albion at the Mennaye Field on Boxing Day.
Davies joked: “He should be with us subject to any needs the Chiefs may have but it would be good if he could stay on the field for the full game though. He’s come off with cramp twice now and then got yellow carded here.”