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News 2012-13

Preview to Cornish Pirates (H) 01.09.12

31/08/2012

Jersey's games against Cornish Pirates will form the book-ends
to the 2012/13 season - appropriately enough given how much the two
'nations' have in common.

The Islanders and the Pirates may compete in an English league
but woe betide anyone who accuses either side of being English.

On one side is a virtually autonomous Crown Dependency and
premier holiday destination (may I introduce you to our new
sponsor?!) which is the sunniest in Britain. And on the other is
one of the smallest counties in the United (well, sort of) Kingdom,
with its own ambitions for independence (in some quarters) which is
also high up the rankings for holiday-makers, albeit just that
little less sunny.

Today's fixture may pit the new boys in the Championship with
the gnarled veterans of level two, but both sides will have a
similar number of new faces on show.

Jersey Director of Rugby Ben Harvey embarked on some significant
summer transfer activity to get his squad ready for 2012/13.

Joining the Islanders are the likes of Steve Boden from
Doncaster Knights, Dave Markham (Gloucester), Richard Barrington
(Hartpury College) and Rob Anderson (Rosslyn Park). Another new
signing, Tom Cooper, is one of several in the Jersey camp with
Cornish connections: Cooper played for the Pirates 19 times last
season, including a substitute appearance in the Championship Final
against London Welsh, and scrum-half Nicky Griffiths spent a season
at the Mennaye in 2008/09, making 25 appearances and scoring nine
tries.

Jersey captain Nathan Hannay formerly played in Cornwall for
Launceston, while Harvey himself was born in Redruth and played his
mini rugby in the county before heading on to greater heights. And
his father Brett played for Pirates, so almost a case of divided
loyalties?!

Harvey is denied the services of a number of players due to
injuries, especially in the forwards, with the likes of Myles
Landick, Jon Brennan, Fred Silcock, Graham Bell and Paul Rodgers
still recovering, though aiming to be involved in Jersey's campaign
before too long. Also absent will be summer signing Richard
Haughton, who made just one appearance for the Island side before
being snapped up by Perpignan who had their own injuries to contend
with, and a rather larger budget to cover their needs.

Pirates are likely to see the greater number of changes from
their last competitive game, with as few as four starters from the
second leg against Welsh set to be in the starting XV today, albeit
this number will increase when substitutes are taken into
account.

The Cornishmen have lost some influential players such as prop
Carl Rimmer, hooker Dave Ward (off to Harlequins) and full-back Rob
Cook (Gloucester) but have recruited extensively. Visiting
supporters will have their first chance to see the new players in a
competitive setting at St Peter.

Both sides are likely to be searching for their optimum
combinations and best form at the start of a long season. Pirates
have had an extra pre-season game, and outscored Jersey against
Loughborough Students (36-7 against 21-11), while Jersey kept
things more respectable against Premiership opposition (21-34
against Leicester rather than 3-56 against Exeter). But the
respective strength of the opponents, weather conditions and many
other factors could also be mentioned - what is for certain is that
the results of the pre-season skirmishes will count for nothing
today as both sides strive desperately to get the new campaign off
on a winning note.

News from the Jersey camp
Ben Harvey has named his side for the opening RFU Championship
match against Cornish Pirates.

Led by Nathan Hannay, the starting XV includes four new faces:
Richard Barrington and Steve Boden in the front row, lock Rob
Anderson and wing (and former Pirate) Tom Cooper. Also in the team
is Tongan forward Talite Vaoileti, a former Jersey captain who was
re-signed in the summer from Rotherham Titans and will wear the
number six shirt.

Jersey's bench includes another new signing, prop Sean McCarthy,
who will be hoping to make his debut for the Islanders.

Jersey are defending a formidable home record at St Peter,
having lost just one league game in the past three seasons, but
know that maintaining the ground's Fortress reputation will be a
challenge following the rise to Championship level, especially
against last season's beaten finalists.

15 Glenn Bryce
14 Thomas Cooper
13 David Bishop
12 Donovan Sanders
11 Edward Dawson
10 Ross Broadfoot
9 Nicholas Griffiths
1 Richard Barrington
2 Steven Boden
3 Ben Evans
4 Nathan Hannay (Capt)
5 Robert Anderson
6 Talite Vaioleti
7 Guy Thompson
8 Nicholas Trower

Replacements:
16 David Felton
17 Sean McCarthy
18 David Markham
19 Eoghan Nihill
20 Brendan O'Brien
21 Michael Le Bourgeois
22 James Copsey

Pirates Squad
15. Grant Pointer
14. Tom Bedford
13. Tom Riley
12. Junior Fatialofa
11. Matt Evans
10. Kieran Hallett
9. Gavin Cattle (Capt)
1. Paul Andrew 
2. Rob Elloway
3. Ben Prescott
4. Darren Barry
5. Gary Johnson
6. Kyle Marriott
7. Phil Burgess
8. Ben Maidment
 
Replacements:
16. Ryan Storer
17. Darren Semmens
18. Alan Paver
19. David Lyons
20. Tom Kessell
21. Aaron Penberthy
22. Alex Cheesman

Cornish Pirates history
The early days of rugby in West Cornwall saw Penzance and Newlyn
as rival clubs who waged some feisty battles on the pitch to
determine local bragging rights. Penzance, formed in 1876 and
Newlyn, who started in 1894, actually stopped playing each other
from 1929-32 because of public order concerns.

However the entente became rather more cordiale towards the end
of the 1930s and in 1945 the clubs merged, playing their first game
against Guy's Hospital on September 22nd of that year.

The 1950s was a golden era, with crowds of 5,000 or more not
uncommon, and two P&N players, John Kendall Carpenter and John
'Ginger' Williams being capped for England in the 1951 Calcutta
Cup.

In 1969 the legendary prop Brian'Stack' Stevens made his England
debut, going on to earn 25 caps including a try in the incredible
away win in New Zealand in 1973.

The Pirates (the nickname was upgraded to a proper name in 2005)
have continued to have a sprinkling of internationals, although in
recent years it's been a more cosmopolitan affair, including Victor
Olonga (Zimbabwe), Villi Ma'asi (Tonga), Heino Senekal (Namibia)
and Stan McKeen (Canada). Likely starting hooker today, Rob
Elloway, was twice capped for Germany, the land of his birth, in
2009-10.

When league rugby began in 1987/88 the Pirates were in the
Cornwall and Devon League, but the club had a steady run of success
culminating in their arrival at level two in 2003. So far, that's
as high as they have reached, although there remain great ambitions
to emulate Devon neighbours Exeter and establish a Cornish presence
at the top level of the English game.

The Championship this weekend
Friday - Nottingham v Leeds Carnegie

Saturday - Bedford Blues v Moseley; Plymouth Albion v
Doncaster Knights

Sunday - London Scottish v Rotherham Titans; Bristol
Rugby v Newcastle Falcons
 
Following the game
Don't forget that you can keep up-to-speed with news from Jersey
v Pirates through the following channels:
• Preview on BBC Radio Jersey's 'Sportscene' from 6- 7pm on
Friday, including an interview with Ben Harvey, and live commentary
on Saturday afternoon (available online and on your
transistor-wireless device
• Preview in Friday's JEP, more rugby in Saturday's Inside Centre
pull-out and a special souvenir supplement, and full match coverage
on Monday
• Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling Maul' rugby
forum
• Match report on Channel 103 soon after the final whistle on
Saturday, plus updates during the match

Stop Press: Channel TV will be broadcasting Friday's Report
Sport from JRFC featuring interviews with Bill Dempsey, Ben Harvey
and Matt Banahan.

The Pirates' website is well worth a look including a preview
from their perspective and lots of info including an extended
history.

And Finally

As well as Cornish visitors, we have a team from France in town
this weekend. Rennes will be watching Saturday's match and then
taking on Jersey Athletic (the team formerly known as the 2s) on
Sunday at 1.30pm.

On Saturday Jersey Colts host St Benedicts at St Peter at
11am.

Enjoy your weekend's rugby

Tom Innes

 

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