Welsh ready for Pirates challenge

London Welsh head to Mennaye Field for the first leg of the Championship final looking to reverse their recent run of poor form at the home of the Cornish Pirates.

The Exiles have lost on their last three visits to Mennaye Field and have not beaten the Pirates in their last three meetings.

When the sides met at Mennaye Field earlier in the season, the Pirates enjoyed a comfortable 27-6 victory – Rudi Brits, Dave Ward and Matt Evans scoring the home side’s tries.

That followed a 17-17 draw at Old Deer Park, in which Alex Davies came off the bench to land three late penalties to give the Exiles a share of the spoils.

The Exiles’ previous visit conjures no less favourable memories, coming in last season’s 18-10 Championship semi-final defeat.

Welsh led 10-3 at half-time thanks to Matt Corker’s try, but second half scores from Gavin Cattle and Rhodri McAtee sent the Pirates into the final.

The regular 2010/11 season also produced a home win for the Pirates, 22-3. McAtee scoring the only try of the game.

Welsh have to go back to March 2010 for their last win at Mennaye Field, when 22 unanswered points saw the Exiles snatch a 28-24 victory.

Nathan Bonner-Evans, Charlie Gower and Ben Thomas the London Welsh try scorers.

The Exiles’ last win over the Pirates came in November 2010 when the Exiles won 23-16 at Old Deer Park.

Aled Thomas kicking 18 points and Dom Shabbo crossing for the home side’s only try.

The second leg of the Championship final takes place on May 30 at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford.

London Welsh team as follows: 15. Alex Davies, 14. Nick Scott, 13. James Lewis, 12. Hudson Tonga’uiha*, 11. Joe Ajuwa, 10. Gordon Ross*, 9. Jack Moates, 1. Billy Moss, 2. Dan George, 3. James Tideswell, 4. Adam Brown, 5. Matt Corker, 6. Jon Mills ©, 7. Mike Denbee, 8. Ed Jackson.

Replacements: 16. Vili Ma’asi*, 17. Shawn Pittman*, 18. Greg Bateman, 19. Gary Johnson, 20. Lee Beach, 21. Rob Lewis, 22. Seb Jewell.

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