Cornish Pirates coach Ian Davies keen to develop rugby in the region

Ian Davies

Cornish Pirates coach Ian Davies says the club has an important role in developing the strength of the sport in the region.

The Pirates have several players on loan at National League Two South side Redruth at the moment.

Davies said such arrangements were beneficial as long as players go on to stay with the Pirates long term.

"It's important we help out local clubs and ensure rugby in the region is very strong," he told BBC Radio Cornwall.

"But we have to make sure we keep hold of them and we're not giving them experience so they can move on to London Scottish or Leeds or Nottingham for more cash with the experience we've given them.

"It's good to see some of our youngsters are playing at Redruth and getting lots of game-time there and supplementing some of the British & Irish Cup games cup for us."

The Pirates have several experienced players, including prop Alan Paver, scrum-half Gavin Cattle and lock Gary Johnson, out with medium to long-term injuries.

"The youngsters are coming to the party and that puts pressure on the old-timers when they're back and ready to play," said Davies, who identified number eight Jake Parker as a good example of a young player who had taken his chance to impress.

"I think there is a best XV and if everybody was fit it would be interesting to see what we'd put out, but in rugby you never really get to that stage - not everyone's fit every week and that's why it's important we have this bigger squad this year.

"Last year the squad was far too small and if we'd had that same size squad this year we wouldn't have been able to put a team out some weeks.

"On average you lose about 25% of your squad through injury and then unavailability on top of that through dual registration and international commitments, so that's why we need a larger squad."

The Pirates face Scottish champions Ayr in the B&I Cup on Sunday as they look to make it five bonus-point wins out of five in the competition this season.

"We need a win to secure a home quarter-final, which is the aim," said Davies.

"Ayr have strengthened their side and have got about eight guys from Glasgow Warriors playing so they're a totally different prospect to the first game."