County Championship: Graham Dawe urges Cornwall side to gel after Surrey win

Graham Dawe (centre) with Eddie Jones (left)
Graham Dawe (centre) has won the County Championship as player and coach of both Cornwall and Devon

Cornwall head coach Graham Dawe says they need time to gel despite starting their County Championship defence with a bonus-point victory at Surrey.

Dawe's side are without 15 of the players that won the title last year, but came from behind to triumph 34-14.

"At half-time the boys were not in shell shock, but they knew they'd been in a game," he told BBC Cornwall.

"Fair play to them, our defensive shape stood up well and the backs were scintillating when they made breaks."

Cornwall have won the competition, also known as the Bill Beaumont Cup, in three of the past four years, but a change to the format means teams could win all of their pool matches, yet still not reach the final.

The top-tier has been increased to 12 teams, split into north and south pools, but each county will only play three of their five group rivals, with just the pool winners advancing to the final.

Former England hooker Dawe has questioned the revamp, with his side visiting arch-rivals Devon next on Saturday.

"They [Surrey] were winning some of the collisions but it's a new team - it does take a while to gel, but they have to gel before next week now," he added.

"It's a competition, we know the rules and we've just got to go for it and that's why I think everyone was so happy when that fourth try went over."

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