Cornish Pirates prepare for the 2019 season 

For their first home game, the Cornish Pirates will face Ealing Trailfinders on Saturday, October 13. With Newcastle Falcons dropping down into the Championship, and several of last year’s teams bolstering their squads significantly, this season’s Championship looks likely to be one of the toughest yet.

Although the Pirates have kept a relatively stable squad over the off-season, they have had a few players come in and have also added to the backroom coaching team as well with the introduction of former Pirate and Exeter Chiefs winger, Matt Jess.

“Pre-season has been about setting out the foundations of our attacking play, over the Championship Cup games we have been putting that into practice so that when we start the league we are up and running and we know what we’re doing, said Jess. “But the Cup games haven’t been taken lightly, the whole squad has approached them as though it was the start of the season.”

Pirates had a narrow loss to London Scottish in their first Cup game but responded strongly to beat Yorkshire Carnegie 0-48. With one Cup game left against Nottingham before the League starts, Assistant Coach, Chris Morgan believes that the team is in good shape.

“Our aim is to improve from last year, said Morgan. “Naturally the focus is promotion, but we want to make our supporters proud of the rugby we play and we want to cement ourselves in the top four of the League, which will give us the best chance of being in the mix to go up into the Premiership at the end of the season.”

Captain Brett Beukeboom is aware that the other sides are investing heavily and competition for those top spots will be tough. “Newcastle coming down from the Premiership will obviously be interesting because they bring with them a wealth of experience and they have a number of international players. But Ealing have signed a lot of top-level players as well, so they’re one to look out for. Bedford and Jersey are always top teams, and Coventry have put a good side together – but really any team can get a result in this League.”

Centre and vice-Captain Nicolas De Battista believes that a top four finish is possible if they focus on the little things that can be the difference between winning and losing. “The last couple of seasons have been very good, but we have been missing a few details that are needed for us to go and play top level rugby. But we are working on it, building a team inside and out as the season begins. I want us to build a confident trusted team, results will come if we get that right.”