CORNISH Pirates will be hoping to return to winning ways when they travel to Lady Bay on Friday evening to face Nottingham in the Greene King IPA Championship (7.45pm).
The Pirates have suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of Ealing Trailfinders in the last two weeks, including in the Championship Cup semi-finals last Sunday.
It is a short turnaround from that cup loss for the Cornish club and they are forced to make a number of changes to injuries.
Maliq Holden will make his Championship debut when he lines up at full-back in the absence of Kyle Moyle, while Robin Wedlake switches from left to right wing in place of Alex O’Meara. The experienced Matt Evans will wear the number 11 shirt.
A fit again Will Cargill returns to the starting line-up at fly-half, with Javier Rojas Alvarez selected at inside centre and Tom Duncan at number eight. Dan Lee moves to the blind-side flank in place of the injured Matt Bolwell and one other change in the forwards sees Josh Caulfield named to partner skipper Brett Beukeboom in the second-row.
The Pirates lost home and away to Nottingham last season but emerged 36-28 victors when the two teams met at the Mennaye Field in October. Nottingham are presently sixth in the league and the Pirates are fifth.
Cornish Pirates’ co-coach Alan Paver said: “We have had to change the team up a little bit because the turnaround is short and we need to get some fresh bodies out there. Nobody’s fault, it’s just the way last week’s fixture landed, however, coming off playing on the rubber crumb you do feel it badly and the players needed that extra day of recovery.
“Preparation for a Friday game is also a little bit different, both on and off the field, and although again down to bare bones, come the evening we need to be ready. There will be no excuses.
“Both teams have had their ups and downs and evenly matched we expect each to give it a real go. As ever, it’ll probably be the side that can cut the penalty count and stay at the top of their game for the longest who will persevere.”
Nottingham Head coach Neil Fowkes said: “Cornish Pirates will be another very difficult test for us. They’ve been one of the better-performing sides this season and their place in the table shows that.
“We had a classic game of two halves down at the Mennaye against them in the reverse fixture so I’m expecting it to be a fiercely competitive game on Friday evening.”
Nottingham: 15 Sean Scanlon, 14 David Williams, 13 Will Millett, 12 Luke Peters, 11 Billy Robinson, 10 Shane O’Leary, 9 Murray McConnell, 1 Owen Hills, 2 Luke Cole, 3 Oisin Heffernan, 4 Tom Holmes (C), 5 Sam Lewis, 6 Shane Buckley, 7 Jordan Coghlan, 8 Josh Poullet
Replacements: 16 Ben Brownlie, 17 George Thornton, 18 Billy Walker, 19 Llewelyn Jones, 20 Will Owen, 21 Darryl Veenendaal, 22 Gearoid Lyons
Cornish Pirates: 15 Maliq Holden, 14 Robin Wedlake, 13 Rory Parata, 12 Javier Rojas Alvarez, 11 Matt Evans, 10 Will Cargill, 9 Alex Day; 1 Jack Andrew, 2 Dan Frost, 3 Tyler Gendall, 4 Josh Caulfield, 5 Brett Beukeboom (c), 6 Dan Lee, 7 John Stevens, 8 Tom Duncan.
Replacements: 16 Sam Matavesi, 17 Tom Concu, 18 Danny Cutmore, 19 James McRae, 20 Alex Schwarz, 21 Harvey Skinner, 22 Dan Koster.