Cornish Pirates: Ian Davies backs Bristol for Championship title

Ian Davies on the field before a Cornish Pirates game.

Cornish Pirates head coach Ian Davies believes Bristol are favourites to win the Championship title this season.

London Welsh, who came down from the Premiership last term, top the table, but Davies believes the weekend's opponents are champions elect.

"I still think Bristol are going to win it," Davies told BBC Radio Cornwall.

"Welsh may be playing a Premiership game in the Championship but I don't think they're the best team - Bristol have more strings to their bow."

The Pirates surprised second-placed Bristol on the opening day of the season, pipping them 23-21 in the double header at Sandy Park.

Apart from long-term absentees, including Alan Paver, who broke his arm against Bedford, the Pirates are likely to be unchanged from last weekend.

"They've moved forward since that game when we ambushed them," Davies said. "They're showing a lot of attacking intent because they know they'll probably end up in the top four."

in their last outing, Davies is pleased with the progress the Pirates are making.

"It's disappointing, we would've been playing for second place if we'd beaten Jersey," he said.

"The squad have come together brilliantly and gelled really well.

"The young ones have brought an energy and enthusiasm that's rubbing off on the old lads and they've certainly got a new zest for playing.

"We've got to make sure everything we do is top drawer because Bristol will be bringing a hell of a challenge."

With Gavin Cattle not quite fully recovered from injury, flanker Chris Morgan will lead the Pirates against his former club.

Hooker Tom Channon returns to make a new-look front row with props Shane Cahill and Peter Joyce.

Winger Matt Evans, who has been on international duty with Canada, returns to the squad on the bench.

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