CORNISH Pirates play away in the Championship for the first time this season when they travel to face Ampthill tomorrow (2pm).
The Pirates, who were comfortable 61-22 winners on their last visit to the Bedfordshire side’s Dillingham Park ground back in March, can expect matters to be considerably closer this time around against one of the present in-form sides in the Championship.
Indeed, in their last two outings ‘The Mob’ (the Ampthill team’s nickname) followed up an impressive 34-24 win at home to Coventry with a 36-10 victory at London Scottish.
There are just two changes in the Cornish Pirates starting XV from the one that ran out at home to Caldy last Saturday.
In the backs, wing Frankie Nowell will make his first outing in the league, and in the pack fit again skipper John Stevens, who featured as a replacement against Caldy, is named in the number seven shirt.
Pirates’ joint head coach Gavin Cattle said: “Ampthill have recruited well, with a lot of new faces. They also have good links with Saracens and what appears a younger demographic overall and are playing a slightly different style of game.
“The task for us, as we undertake our first road trip in the league, is to turn up in the right frame of mind, including awareness that it is going to take a big, physical and emotional effort to achieve the sought-after result.”
Ampthill head coach Paul Turner makes four changes to the 15 that started against Scottish last Friday night, all in the pack.
Sam Crean comes in to the starting XV at loose-head prop as James Flynn rotates to the bench.
Samson Adejimi replaces Kapeli Pifeleti at hooker with Luke Green retaining the starting tight-head shirt.
Ex-Jersey man Joe Peard continues his partnership with Kaden Pearce-Paul in the engine room.
Izzy Moore-Aiono starts on the blindside with Nathan Michelow switching to openside this week and club captain Morgan Strong shores up the pack at number eight.
In an unchanged backs division, Charlie Bracken is again partnered by last week's man of the match Gwyn Parks in the half-backs, Fraser Strachan and Oli Morris continue to build chemistry in the midfield while a back line of Brandon Jackson, Tobias Elliot and Tom Bacon continue for a third successive game.
Dom Hardman and Ben Harris return to the match-day 23 in a traditional five-three bench this week, having both missed the London Scottish game.
Turner said: “Pirates are well-drilled full-time side and will be a real measure of where we are as a team.
“The second half last week was the best 40 minutes of rugby we've played this season and we'll need to repeat those levels for 80 minutes on Saturday afternoon.”
Ampthill: Tom Bacon, Tobias Elliot, Oli Morris, Fraser Strachan, Brandon Jackson, Gwyn Parks, Charlie Bracken, Sam Crean, Samson Adejimi, Luke Green, Joe Peard, Kaden Pearce-Paul, Izzy Moore-Aiono,. Nathan Michelow, Morgan Strong (capt). Replaements: Ben Chapman, James Flynn, Dom Hardman, Iestyn Rees, Josh Smart,. Joe Green, Josh Barton, Ben Harris.
Cornish Pirates: Will Trewin, Matt McNab, Ioan Evans, Joe Elderkin, Frankie Nowell, Bruce Houston, Alex Schwarz; Lefty Zigiriadis, Morgan Nelson, Matt Johnson, Hugh Bokenham, Steele Barker, Alex Everett, John Stevens (capt), Ben Grubb. Replacements: Rhys Williams, Jacob Morris, Fin Richardson, Harry Dugmore, Will Gibson, Ruaridh Dawson, Iwan Jenkins, Tom Georgiou.