SAM MATAVESI returns for the Cornish Pirates as they make changes for their Pool Three return fixture at Hartpury RFC on Saturday in the Championship Cup (2.30pm).
Fresh from international duty with Fiji, Matavesi comes in at hooker, while lock Nodar Cheishvili is also back from playing for Georgia and lines up in the second-row. It will be Cheishvili’s first appearance for the Pirates in a competitive match.
Dan Koster and Javier Rojas Alvarez will form the centre partnership, Will Cargill returns at fly-half and there are also starting roles for scrum-half Alex Schwarz, back-rowers James McRae and John Stevens, and prop Tyler Gendall. Prop forward Jack Andrew will captain the side.
The Pirates won 53-17 at home to Hartpury last Sunday. However, the coaches and players will take nothing for granted, aware of a threat that their hosts will pose.
Ahead of Saturday’s return fixture, Cornish Pirates co-coach Gavin Cattle commented: “Despite last week’s scoreline, we were unhappy with how we performed in the first half as created opportunities weren’t taken that should have given us a bigger lead.
“However, the reaction at half-time was pleasing and the players responded to put in a pretty decent second-half performance.
“As for this weekend, we were bruised when we suffered a hefty loss at London Irish, so expect Hartpury to have similarly looked this week at putting their wrongs right.
“We will have to be on our mettle and aim to put in a good performance to give us a good shout away to Bedford the following week in a hope to progress in the competition.”
Cattle added: “Selection-wise, it’s great to have Sam (Matavesi) back.
“Last weekend’s performance when playing for Fiji in their historic win against France confirmed what a player he is and hopefully, he’ll bring that confidence back to the team.
“Also for Nodar (Cheishvili), his return from international duty with Georgia also gives him an opportunity to impress.”
Cornish Pirates: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Alex O’Meara, 13 Dan Koster, 12 Javier Rojas Alvarez, 11 Robin Wedlake, 10 Will Cargill, 9 Alex Schwarz; 1 Jack Andrew (c), 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Tyler Gendall, 4 Nodar Cheishvili, 5 Danny Cutmore, 6 Dan Lee, 7 John Stevens, 8 James McRae.
Replacements: 16 Charlie Gibbings, 17 Tom Concu, 18 Toby Freeman, 19 Matt Bolwell, 20 Jake Ashby, 21 Harvey Skinner, 22 Callum Patterson.