|Full name||Penzance and Newlyn Rugby Football Club|
|Location||Penzance, Cornwall, England|
|Ground(s)||Mennaye Field (Capacity: 4,000 (2,200 seated))|
Directors : Dicky Evans, Martin Hudson, Colin Groves (NZ), Graham Stone, Martin Haag, Martin TuckerLife President : Dicky Evans
The Cornish Pirates (Cornish: An Vorladron Gernewek) are a professional rugby union team who play in the Championship, the second level of the English rugby union pyramid, and are the premier Cornish rugby club. Formerly known as Penzance & Newlyn RFU, the Cornish Pirates play and train at their home ground, the Mennaye Field in Penzance.
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.
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 three places below Premiership rugby status. To fulfill the club's aspirations of gaining promotion into the Premiership it is necessary to fulfill a number of criteria including becoming a Limited Company and playing home matches in a new capacity stadium.
In 2005 the Pirates moved away from their home at The Mennaye in Penzance, first to Kenwyn Rugby Ground, near Truro, and then to Camborne Recreation Ground. The Pirates returned to The Mennaye for the 2010–11 season and remain there to date. In examining the options it was viewed as imperative to increase the support base which led to a difficult decision for Dicky Evans and the supporters of the Pirates, as to whether the team should relocate to another site to play their home matches or not. The questions, concerns and sentiments arising from the proposals were thoroughly debated in the clubhouse and elsewhere. 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, Truro for the 2005–06 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 RFC.
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". He expressed his personal happiness at the support expressed for the move and regarded it as a step towards a Premiership rugby club in Cornwall.
Cornwall Council is currently developing a business plan for a proposed Stadium for Cornwall, which could host both the Pirates and Truro City Football Club. The Stadium For Cornwall plans hit a problem when Cornwall Council refused to give any public funding to constructing the facility, which they announced towards the end of the 2011–12 season.
When new chairman Ian Connell took over on 1 July following owner Dicky Evans' decision to retire, it was announced that the club hope to move into a new stadium in Truro in time for the 2016–17 season.
Following a highly successful 2005–06 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 Cornwall boasting a superb grandstand.
The 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 1,000. There is also good banked standing, a 80-foot-long (24 m) 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.
After the success of the 2006–07 cup win, the hope was that the club’s ambition could finally be realised, this hope was hampered by the loss of Viliami Ma'asi and Alberto Di Bernardo (to Leeds), these losses were offset in some degree by the signing of Canadian international scrum half Ed Fairhurst, former England U21 centre Simon Whatling from Worcester and seasoned professional Rob Elloway from Gloucester. 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.
A number of promotions at the beginning of the 21st century saw the Pirates rise from south-west regional rugby all of the way up to the second division. The re-brand from Penzance & Newlyn to the Cornish Pirates for the 2005-06 season, along with relocating from Penzance to Truro, meant that the club was not only the highest ranked in the county but also the best supported, having doubled its supporter base in just over 5 seasons. A further move to Camborne the next season saw attendances continued to flourish, rising to a peak of 3,011 per game during the 2009-10 season.
A move back to Penzance during the 2010-11 season heralded a steady decline in attendances, although as the counties only professional team the club still was easily the best supported. Despite their higher status, the Pirates continued to enjoy good relations with neighbouring clubs such as Redruth and Camborne, often playing home matches on Sunday so that supporters of those clubs can also attend games at the Mennaye Field. It is hoped that the proposed move back to Truro to the proposed Stadium for Cornwall will see an upturn in the clubs fortunes and bring the supporters back.
|Season||League||National Cup(s)||Other Cup(s)|
|1989–90||Cornwall/Devon (8)||1st (promoted)|
|1990–91||Western Counties (7)|
|1991–92||Western Counties (7)|
|1992–93||Western Counties (7)|
|1993–94||South West 2 West (7)[a 6]|
|1994–95||South West 2 West (7)|
|1995–96||South West 2 West (7)|
|1996–97||South West 2 West (6)[a 7]|
|1997–98||South West 2 West (6)||1st (promoted)||36|
|1998–99||South West 1 (5)||4th||29||Tetley's Bitter Cup||2nd Round||Cornwall Cup||Winners|
|1999–00||South West 1 (5)||1st (promoted)||40||Tetley's Bitter Cup||3rd Round||Cornwall Cup||Winners|
|2000–01||National 3 South (4)||3rd||38||Tetley's Bitter Cup||3rd Round||Cornwall Cup||Semi-finals|
|2001–02||National 3 South (4)||1st (promoted)||49||Powergen Cup||2nd Round|
|2002–03||National 2 (3)||1st (promoted)||45||Powergen Cup||3rd Round|
|2003–04||National 1 (2)||10th||43[a 8]||Powergen Cup||6th Round|
|2004–05||National 1 (2)||4th||85||Powergen Cup||3rd Round|
|2005–06[a 9]||National 1 (2)||3rd||90||Powergen Trophy||6th Round|
|2006–07||National 1 (2)||5th||101||EDF Energy Cup||Winners|
|2007–08||National 1 (2)||5th||91||EDF Energy Trophy||4th Round|
|2008–09||National 1 (2)||7th||82||EDF Energy Trophy||5th Round|
|2009–10||RFU Championship (2)[a 10]||6th[a 11]||58[a 12]||British & Irish Cup||Winners|
|2010–11||RFU Championship (2)||3rd[a 13]||76[a 14]||Runners up||British & Irish Cup||Pool Stage|
|2011–12||RFU Championship (2)||3rd[a 15]||74[a 16]||Semi-finals||British & Irish Cup||Semi-finals|
|2012–13||RFU Championship (2)||6th[a 17]||52||British & Irish Cup||Quarter-finals|
|2013–14||RFU Championship (2)||6th||51||British & Irish Cup||Quarter-finals|
|2014–15||RFU Championship (2)||8th||45||British & Irish Cup||Pool Stage|
|2015–16||RFU Championship (2)||9th||49||British & Irish Cup||Semi-finals|
|2016–17||RFU Championship (2)||6th||55||British & Irish Cup||Quarter-finals|
|2017–18||RFU Championship (2)||4th[a 18]||67||British & Irish Cup||Quarter-finals|
|2018–19||RFU Championship (2)||RFU Championship Cup|
|Green background stands for either league champions (with promotion) or cup winners. Blue background stands for promotion without winning league or losing cup finalists. Pink background stands for relegation.|
- Cornwall Cup winners (3): 1975–76, 1998–99, 1999–00[a 19]
- Cornwall & Devon champions: 1989–90
- South West Division 2 champions: 1996–97
- South West Division 1 champions: 1998–99
- National League 3 South champions: 2001–02
- National League 2 champions: 2002–03
- EDF Energy National Trophy winners: 2006–07
- British and Irish Cup winners: 2009–10
- RFU Championship runners up: 2010–11, 2011–12
- Highest attendance — 6,487
- Highest average attendance (league) — 3,486
Achieved during the 2007–08 season
|Club||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Points for||Points against||Points diff||Try bonus||Loss bonus||Points|
|12||Rotherham Titans (R)||22||2||0||20||376||780||−404||2||4||14|
|Green background is the promotion place. Pink background is the relegation place.|
Updated: 28 April 2018
Source: "Greene King IPA Championship". NCA Rugby.
Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.
Notable former players
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- Note that Pirates are missing 3 home attendances out of 13 due to poor media coverage during the 2000–01 season.
- Note that Pirates are missing 1 home attendance out of 13 during the 2001–02 season.
- Note that Pirates are missing 6 home attendances out of 13 due to extremely poor media coverage during the 2002–03 season.
- Note that Pirates are missing 3 home attendances out of 13 due to poor media coverage during the 2003–04 season.
- Note that Pirates are missing 1 home attendance out of 13 during the 2004–05 season.
- RFU restructuring due to creating of Courage League Division 5 meant that Western Counties was renamed as South West 2 for the 1993–94 season, and was also reduced to a level 7 league.
- RFU restructuring due the cancellation of Courage League Division 5 meant that South West 2 West became a level 6 league instead of level 7.
- Bonus points had been used in National 1 since the 2003–04 season but would not be introduced to the lower leagues until much later. As this was the highest level the Pirates had reached, 2003–04 was the first season the club would experience bonus points.
- First season that the club would be known as the Cornish Pirates. Prior to this they were Penzance-Newlyn.
- As part of the extensive league restructuring by the RFU for the 2009–10 season, National 1 was renamed as the RFU Championship.
- League position is taken from 1st stage only. The 2009–10 RFU Championship was divided into three stages; the Pirates finished 6th during the 1st stage (main league), and then 3rd in their promotion group during the second stage, failing to qualify for the playoff semi-finals.
- Figure is taken from first stage of the 2009–10 RFU Championship.
- As with the previous season, the 2010–11 RFU Championship was divided into three stages. Pirates finished 3rd in the first stage, then 1st in their promotion group (second stage) to qualify for the playoffs.
- Figure is taken from first stage of the 2010–11 RFU Championship.
- Pirates finished 3rd in the first stage, then 2nd in their promotion group (second stage) to qualify for the playoffs.
- Figure is taken from first stage of the 2011–12 RFU Championship.
- The competition format for the 2012–13 RFU Championship changed to a main league stage, with the top 4 sides contesting the playoffs.
- The competition format for the 2017–18 RFU Championship and onward was changed to a standard league, with the playoffs discontinued.
- Note that Penzance (a parent club of the Pirates) won 2 additional Cornish Cups and Newlyn (the second parent club) won the Cornwall Clubs Cup once.
- "Business plan for Cornwall sports stadium approved". BBC News. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
- "Cornish Pirates owner Dicky Evans leaves after 20 years". BBC Sport. 30 June 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- "Cornish Pirates eye new stadium in 2016". Stadia Directory. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- "Final League Tables 1996–97". Trelawny's Army. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
- "Final League Tables, 1997–98". Trelawny's Army. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- "South West 1 1998–1999". England Rugby. RFU. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- "CRFU decide foot and mouth crisis". South West Farmers. 9 March 2001.
- "Powergen National Trophy 2005/06". Statbunker. 25 November 2005.
- "EDF Energy National Cup 2006/07". Statbunker. 14 April 2007.
- "EDF National Trophy 07/08". Statbunker. 11 January 2008.
- "EDF National Trophy 07/08". Statbunker. 14 February 2009.
- "Cornish Pirates 23-14 Munster". BBC. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "Cornish Pirates 26 Northampton Saints 35". Cornish Pirates. 9 September 2007.
- "Cornish Pirates Squad - 2017/18". Cornish Pirates. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
- "Pirates Announce Their Dual-Registered Players" (Press release). Cornish Pirates. 11 August 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2018.