Pirates boss Dicky Evans hankering for top flight rugby

Cornish Pirates owner Dicky Evans says he will not give up the dream of bringing Premiership rugby to Cornwall.

Stadium regulations mean the Pirates cannot be promoted, despite being in the Championship play-off final.

Evans told BBC Spotlight: "If we can win then it'll send a lesson to the Rugby Football Union and Premier Rugby that they've got to re-think the rules.

"Next year we're going for it again, we've strengthened the squad and we're going for it."

The Pirates current home in Penzance falls well short of Premiership criteria which dictates grounds must have a capacity of over 10,000.

A mere 3,500 fans brought the Mennaye Field up to capacity against Worcester in the first leg of the Championship play-off final last Wednesday, a match won by the Warriors 21-12.

In search of a solution to the problem, the Pirates have been in negotiations with Cornwall Council for several over building a new stadium outside Truro, shared with the city's football team.

"We're trying to get this stadium together," Evans continued. "But there's the finance issues as we're trying not to involve public funds but there's some good people working on it very hard.

"Whether it's going to be ready by next September is the question but if we can win these two legs we can persuade Twickenham (RFU) and the PRL that we can play here for one year.

"If we can win the league next year on the basis that we are putting machines on site in Truro, then with any luck in two years' time we could move to Truro.

"Perhaps the Rugby Football Union could say 'OK Pirates you obviously can have a Premiership side here. It's your risk Dicky Evans because you've got to find the funding but you can have your Premiership side and we'll let you do it here for one year'."

Relegation from, and promotion into the Premiership has been a contentious issue in the English game for several years, with the Pirates' current plight forcing it into the spotlight once again.

Bath director of rugby Sir Ian McGeechan recently backed a move to close off the top league, ending promotion and relegation for five years, whilst allowing Worcester and Bristol in to create a 14-team Premiership.

Such a change would dash Evans' hopes for the Pirates to make the step up in the near future, as is clearly the plan for the Penzance club.

"You've got to build a team," he said. "You can't buy a team, you've got to have an institution and we have now built an institution.

"We started from scratch two years ago with a new coaching team and we've put together three coaches now.

"We're about a year early in fact because we were aiming for promotion next year.

"I'm not saying we're going to beat Worcester home and away on aggregate but we'll give them a damn good fright that's for sure."

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