Preview: Aberavon v Cornish Pirates
Posted by Gareth Gange on 10/08/2018
The game will be the first pre-season game for both sides.
The Pirates finished fourth in the Championship last season after winning twelve of their twenty-two games. In the British & Irish Cup the Pirates finished second in their pool that consisted of Ulster A (Pool winners), Scarlets Premiership Select, and Hartpury College. They were then knocked out of the competition by losing 25 - 28 at Ealing Trailfinders.
Saturday will be the fifth successive year that the Wizards and Pirates have met each other during pre-season.
In 2014-15, both sides met at the Talbot Athletic Ground. After half hour the homeside found themselves 24 - 5 down after the Pirates scored tries through Laurie McGlone, Joe Atkinson & Tom Kessell, with Laurence May converting all three and adding a penalty. For the Wizards, scrum half David Pritchard touched down. Deep in injury time at the end of the half, centre David Evans scored a try for the Wizards with Ceiron Thomas converting to make the score 24 - 12 to the visitors at the interval.
A second try by Evans, once again converted by Thomas, following by a Thomas penalty saw the Wizards just two points adrift as the game entered the final quarter, during which wing Kristian Corbisiero scored an unconverted try to snatch a win for Aberavon, 27 - 24.
In 2015-16, the Wizards travelled to Penzance to take on the Pirates. At the interval, the homeside led 24 - 10 thanks to tries by John Stevens, Laurie McGlone & Tom Hendrickson, with Kieran Hallett converting all three and kicking a penalty. For Aberavon, wing Aaron Grabham scored a pair of unconverted tries.
The second half saw Aberavon tries by scrum-half David Pritchard, centre Will Price & replacement David Evans. Outside-half James Garland converted two of the tries to give the Wizards a 29 - 24 lead after 73 minutes. However, a few minutes later, Laurence May scored a try that he converted to give the Pirates a 31 - 29 win.
In 2016-17, at the Talbot Athletic Ground, the Pirates led 14 - 12 at half time after Argentine Nicolas De Battista and Matt Evans both scoring tries, with Will Cargill converting both. For the homeside, Stef Andrews and Gareth Harvey scored tries with Steffen Williams converting one.
The Wizards scored three further tries in the second half through Ieuan Davies, Richard Carter and Jacob Flynn. Williams converted the first two, while Jamie Sturgess converted the last one to give Aberavon a nineteen-point lead. The Pirates at the last word when John Stevens scored a try converted by Laurence May to make the final score 33 - 21 to the Wizards.
Last season, at Penzance, the Wizards found themselves 31 - 7 down at half time with the Pirates scoring five tries through Tom Duncan, Jack Andrew, Mike Pope, Dan Koster and Alex O’Meara. Will Cargill converted three of the tries. For Aberavon, wing Shaun Pearce touched down with outside half and captain James Garland adding the extras.
The second half saw the homeside score another five tries through Harrison Cully (2), Marlen Walker, Duncan, Christian Judge and Harrison Cully. Laurence May kicked four conversions to make the final score an emphatic 64 - 7.
The referee for Saturday's game is Dewi Phillips.