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The Cornish Pirates are a British professional rugby union team who play in the Championship, the second level of the Englishmarker rugby union pyramid, and are the premier Cornish rugby club. Formerly known as Penzance & Newlyn Pirates, currently the Cornish Pirates play in Cambornemarker for their home games, and train at their traditional home at The Mennaye in Penzancemarker. The Camborne Rec, which can hold 7,000 currently, is nearer to the traditional rugby supporters bases of Penzance and Newlyn, as well as Camborne, Redruth, Falmouth and St Ives.

Plans ca. 2004/05

There has been recent talk of plans to build a permanent 15,000 seat stadium which will be fit to host Premiership rugby, but at present the club is considering its options as the minimum entry requirements to the Premiership are constantly changing. Should they win this year's National One and wish to move up to the Premiership, it is hoped that they will meet Premier Rugby's criteria. If not this year, then certainly they should be in place by 2008/09.

At the end of the 2004/05 season the Pirates finished in 4th position in National Division 1 which at the time was their highest league position since owner Dicky Evans became President and just 3 places below Premiership rugby status. To fulfil the club's aspirations of gaining promotion into the Premiership it is necessary to fulfil a number of criteria including becoming a Limited Company and playing home matches in a new capacity stadium.

Also, the Cornish Pirates are developing a supporter base, their work in the community and increasing the number of businesses involved, all of which are essential along with success on the pitch to reach Premiership status.

The Decision to Move

In 2005, Pz & N Pirates moved away from their home at The Mennaye in Penzance. Firstly to Kenwyn, nr Truro, and latterly to Camborne.

In examining the options it was viewed as imperative to increase the support base which led to perhaps the single most difficult decision for Dicky Evans and the supporters of the Pirates namely, should the team relocate to another site to play their home matches? The plethora of questions, concerns and sentiments arising from the proposals were debated in the clubhouse, in the street and through the media. However, on 27 May 2005 at an emergency meeting held in a packed St Johns Hall the innovative plans were passed. They included:

  • Relocating to a new temporary site at Kenwyn, Truromarker for the 2005/6 season.
  • Re-branding including changing the club's name to the Cornish Pirates.
  • Upgrading all the facilities at the Mennaye Field which will continue to act as the permanent training base for the Cornish Pirates.
  • The Mennaye to continue to act as the playing home for the Pirates mini and junior sections and Mounts Bay.

Following the vote Richard Evans told members: "ten years ago I asked you to support me in taking this club into the professional era. At that time there were those were totally against this move, there are people that are against this latest move. However, it is my belief that we must try this venture". Mr Evans went on to say "I'm absolutely chuffed to bits that the members of Penzance & Newlyn Rugby Club share the same vision as myself. As I have said many times before, Cornwallmarker deserve a Premiership rugby club and it is our aim to bring that to them."

There are plans for Truro City F.C.marker to construct a new 16,000 stadium just outside the city, and it is possible that the Cornish Pirates may move there in future.

Joe Beardshaw wins line-out ball for the Pirates against Plymouth Albion

2006/7 season

Following a highly successful 2005/6 season, (when crowds were increased and the Pirates finished 3rd in Division 1), it was decided to relocate again and over the next two seasons the Cornish Pirates will play their home rugby matches at Camborne RFC's recreation ground. Camborne's ground is seen as many to be the best rugby ground in Cornwallmarker boasting a superb grandstand. It is yet another positive step to bring premiership rugby to Cornwall and will be a huge boost for the Camborne community. The joint venture is seen as of mutual benefit to both the Cornish Pirates and Camborne RFC and the Pirates will, as such, play all of their games at the Recreation Ground on Sundays and continue to use the facilities at the Mennaye as the training base.

Penzance & Newlyn RFC club badge
Pirates say they intend to make match days an "event" as they did last year at Kenwyn and as the Camborne Recreation Ground accommodates over 9,000 people with a stand capacity of 780, and a new Family Stand of allowing for more than 1000. There is also good banked standing, a 80foot long marquee bar complete with Cadgwith Singers and ample parking at or near the ground.

Cornish Pirates continue to work towards developing a stadium that will be required to ensure Premiership status. They are reportedly working with Cornwall County Council, and other partners, and at various sites near Truro, Camborne, or points in between. The Camborne Rec is a popular and historic Cornish rugby venue, having hosted many top class games over the years against teams including the "All Blacks" and the "Wallabies".

On 15 April 2007, the Cornish Pirates won the EDF Energy National Trophy at Twickenham for the first time in the club's history, against Exeter Chiefs. The score was 19-16.

2007/8 Season

After the success of the 2006/7 cup win, the hope was that the club’s ambition could finally be realised, this hope was hampered by the loss of Villami Ma’asi and Alberto di Bernado (to Leeds), these losses were offset in some degree by the signing of Canadian international scrum half Ed Fairhurst, former England U21 centre Simon Watling from Worcester and seasoned professional Rob Elloway from Gloucestermarker. At first the results were not good but after the world cup the team began to pick up and were joined by one of the stars of the tournament Tongan full back; Vunga Lilo. Unfortunately the side couldn’t live with the newly relegated Northampton Saints and were unlucky to draw them in the 1st round of the cup, going down 15-3 at home.


In December 2007 club president Dicky Evans announced plans for a possible merger with Truro FC to build a 16,000 seater stadium, the members of Penzance and Newlyn RFC will meet on 14 January 2008 to discuss the plans.

Current squad

Cornish Pirates (senior XV of Penzance & Newlyn RFC) players display a giant pasty which was paraded as part of the 2009 St. Piran's Festival at Camborne, Cornwall


Notable former players

External links

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