THE Championship takes a back seat for the next couple of weekends as the British & Irish Cup returns and the Cornish Pirates face crucial back to back Pool 6 qualifiers against Jersey beginning at the Mennaye Field on Saturday (7pm), writes Dick Straughan.
Wins in their opening two qualifiers, against Ulster Ravens and Ayr, have propelled the Pirates to the top of the pool and the prospect of a brace of wins against the Islanders would go a long way to securing their passage to the quarter finals.
Jersey opened up their cup campaign beating Ayr at St Peter before going down narrowly to Ulster in Belfast in October but they have already beaten the Cornish Pirates on home soil in the league this season.
The narrow 27-25 defeat off the last kick of the game almost three weeks ago is still a painful memory in the Pirates camp after they threw away a victory conceding 17 points without reply.
Head coach Ian Davies was furious with that result and also displeased after Sunday's 27-27 draw on the road at Nottingham (see page 94) and he knows full well the significance of meeting Jersey over the next two weekends.
"We owe Jersey one but our result there is put into context by the fact that Ealing have just beaten them," he said.
"It was a poor result for us but Ealing going there and winning, and I mean no offence to them, shows that we should have gone there and done the same thing."
"Jersey will now be smarting from that which doesn't make our job any easier but we have to start putting these tight games to bed."
Cornish Pirates (from): Fatialofa, Goss, Hendrickson, Holland, James, Jones, Kessell, Moyle, Conlon, Pope, Riley, Sinclair, Evans; Andrew, Barry, Cahill, Channon, Joyce, Elloway, Graulich, Patrick, Prescott, Stevens, Davies, Cattle, Cheesman, Dancer, Morgan, Parker, Sandford, Phillips.
The Pirates have confirmed that wing James Tincknell has left the club after his three month contract ended.