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Cornish Pirates will entertain Munster in the British and Irish Cup final on May 16 after a convincing home victory over Doncaster.
Pirates ran in six tries to set up what should be a mouth-watering showdown in the competition’s inaugural season.
Pirates forwards coach Ian Davies said: “It was a really good performance. We have let ourselves down over the past couple of weeks, but the boys came out fired up and showed what they can do.
“Everyone displayed the right attitude, the work rate was outstanding and the victory came from our first-half display, when we certainly ran Doncaster around and reaped the rewards in the last 10 to 15 minutes.”
Doncaster director of rugby Lynn Howells had no complaints about the result, and felt it was a game too far for his side after a hectic few weeks.
“It is all catching up with us at the moment, we have a lot of tired bodies, but we are certainly a better team than we showed today, and that is the disappointment for me,” said Howells.
“Take nothing away from Pirates though. They played a good style of rugby and they thoroughly deserved their victory, and we were perhaps lucky to keep the score down to what we did.”
Pirates only led 3-0 after an error-strewn opening half hour, with Kiwi fly-half Jonny Bentley kicking a sixth-minute penalty and seeing another effort hit an upright
However, the Cornishmen then stepped up a gear to score two tries in four minutes.
Doncaster full-back Anthony Carter seemed to have Pirates winger Tom Luke’s kick ahead covered, but he slipped at the crucial moment, and opposite number Wes Davies accepted the gift against his former club.
Bentley missed the conversion, but then ghosted through the Doncaster defence after another fine attacking move, adding the conversion for a 15-0 lead after 34 minutes.
Doncaster struck back immediately, centre Bevon Armitage forcing his way over in the corner, to leave the Knights trailing 15-5 at the break.
They left themselves with a massive mountain to climb, though, when they conceded a third try five minutes into the second half, with Pirates flanker Chris Morgan crossing after initial surges by Dave Ward and Mark Ireland, and Bentley converted.
Pirates made the game safe in the 64th minute when captain Gavin Cattle skipped his way over, before replacement winger Nick Jackson and lock Laurie McGlone put the icing on the cake with injury-time touchdowns, with Bentley converting all three.
Final Score Cornish Pirates 43 Doncaster Knights 5
Tries: Davies, Bentley, Morgan, Cattle, Jackson, McGlone.
Cons: Bentley (5).
Referee: Llyr Apgeraint-Roberts (RFU).
W Davies, R McAtee, M Ireland, S Winn, T Luke, J Bentley, G Cattle (capt), A Paver, D Ward, R Brits, L McGlone, M Myerscough, C Morgan, S Betty, B Cowan. Replacements: R Elloway for Betty 49, N Jackson for Davies 50, C Rimmer for Brits 61, P Andrew for Paver 68, R Labuschagne for Cowan 68, J Doherty for Cattle 68, M Evans for Myerscough 71.
A Carter, D Flockhart, C Briers, B Armitage, A Wright, J Brooks, C Hallam, T Toke, S Boden, N Tau, G Kenworthy (capt), G Townson, N Cochrane, S Grainger, A Boyde. Replacements: A Kettle for Cochrane ht, H Tonga’uiha for Armitage 59, S McColl for Carter 64, J McMillan for Tau 71, T Doughty for Boden 71, M D’Arcy for |Hallam 71, B Griffiths for Kettle 76.
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