Cornish Pirates 18 Yorkshire Carnegie 29: Winning start to new era as Yorkshire show versatility

Yorkshire Carnegie captain Ryan Burrows
Yorkshire Carnegie captain Ryan Burrows
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The new era began with a victory for Yorkshire Carengie, one that breaks a pattern that dates back to 2008.

No matter what they were named, Carnegie have not won on the opening day for the last five years, but did so at Mennaye Field thanks to two tries from prop Ben Harris along with efforts from captain Ryan Burrows and Chris Jones.

New head coach Gary Mercer did what James Lowes, Diccon Edwards, Stuart Lancaster and Phil Davies were all unable to do in their time in charge by winning his first game in this division and his side laid down some firm foundations for the campaign ahead with a bonus point win.

Mercer had talked about the need for improved defence to add to the flamboyant style that had become their trademark last season and there was plenty of evidence in this display that both will be prevalent this season. The visitors led 29-6 for the majority of the second half before a couple of breakaway tries from the Pirates took the gloss of the performance.

Whilst two of Carnegie’s scores came from lineout drives from close range, the pick of the tries, scored by debutant Chris Jones, came from a sensational move that covered the full length of the pitch and involved nearly all the Yorkshire players in the process.

Carnegie opened the scoring early on through the boot of fly-half Glyn Hughes which was then cancelled out by his opposite number Kieron Hallett.

Carnegie crossed for the opening try when Hughes opened up a gap in the Pirates defence. He was rewarded with a penalty which he kicked to the corner and skipper Burrows was driven over, Hughes converting.

Hallett cut the gap with a penalty but Leeds broke up field and crossed for a second try when David McIlwaine and Oli Goss had the home side back peddling before prop Harris powered over, Hughes adding the extras.

The second half saw Carnegie press home their dominance and they secured the try bonus within 12 minutes of the restart.

The third try was the pick of the scores as it covered the full length of the pitch and involved nearly every player. The move was started by McIlwaine and Goss before good support play took the ball upfield. Quick hands then put Jones in space and the former England international bulldozed over.

The fourth try was a replica. A powerful run from Jon Clarke drew a penalty which Hughes kicked to the corner and Harris was driven over.

Cornish Pirates: Evans, Goss, Riley, James (Pope, 61), Moyle, Hallett, Kessell, Andrew (Carpenter, 64), Channon (Ford-Robinson, 64), Jamieson (Gendall, 70), Garratt, Barry (Atkinson, 61), Parker, Cheesman, McGlone (Graulich,56). Unused replacement: Cattle

Yorkshire Carnegie: McIlwaine, Goss, Clarke, Lucock (Vickerman, 56), Doherty, Hughes (Leonard, 63), Pilgrim, Harris (Imiolek, 56), Graham (Nilsen, 56), Tideswell (Hooper, 56), Casson (Ramshaw, 37), Edwards, Jones, Walker (Barnard, 63), Burrows.

Referee: S Harding.