- Follow @RFUChampionship to feature next month
- Scott Hassel tells us why he loves the Cornish Pirates
In every edition of the RFU Championship ezine, we ask one of our Twitter followers for their thoughts on the competition. To feature next month and voice your opinions on the league, make sure to follow us: @RFUChampionship.
Photo: RFU Archive
Twitter name: @pertonshrew
Which RFU Championship side do you support? Cornish Pirates
How long have you supported the club?
I have supported the Pirates since I was around nine-years-old, which is hard work as I live in Staffordshire which is some 300 hundred miles away! As a family we were in Cornwall regularly on holiday staying just yards from the picturesque Mennaye Field, my love for the club grew. The club was at a lower level back then and I have seen them climb through the National Leagues over the years to become a professional club. I find myself now taking the long five and a half hour drive to the Mennaye Field often, and its ironic that some of the Pirates longest away days are often closer to home for me!
What has been the best game you’ve seen this season and why?
It has to be the huge win over Leeds Carnegie early in the season. The 52-10 victory didn't flatter us that day and we proved to them that they would be in for a hard season after relegation. I think they thought they could make the trip to the Mennaye and turn us over easily, we made an instant return to the Premiership difficult for them on that day. I think it identifies how the league is closing the gap between the top two tiers. The double over Devon neighbours Plymouth is also up there too - obviously!
Who is you player of the season so far?
It's always great when Ian Nimmo is on the field, for me he is a true 'Pirate' and not only in appearance! His aggressive play as lock is played in true Pirates style and he is great role model for the game. As for a player of the season, well it has to be Rob Cook, his points from the boot this season have helped get us into the 'Big 4' once again, and he is really shaping himself to become a cult hero.
Photo: Brian Tempest
The semi-finalists have now been confirmed. Who do you think will win the 2011-12 RFU Championship season?
I think the Cornish Pirates can win the title. In doing so we would prove a lot of our critics wrong, but on top of that it would be a momentous achievement for the club. We came very close last season against a very strong Worcester side. However Bedford and Bristol have improved this season and will be favourites - but they are beatable. You can never rule out the London Welsh boys, but we will fancy our chances too.
What do you enjoy about RFU Championship rugby?
I enjoy offering a real Cornish rugby experience to other fans from around the country, grabbing a pasty and enjoying the sea air at the Mennaye. It is a really hard league, there are no easy games. In years gone by the gap between top and bottom has been wide, especially with the relegated side entering from the Premiership. Today that gap is narrow. I love the play offs, it really builds the tension for the climax of the season. The two legged semi-finals, and final format works really well for the supporters.
Sum up the RFU Championship in three words:
Passionate, professional rugby!