|Full name||Penzance and Newlyn Rugby Football Club|
|Ground(s)||Mennaye Field (Capacity: 4,000 (2,200 seated))|
|League(s)||Greene King IPA Championship|
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.
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.
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.
The decision to relocate
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.
- Cornwall Cup winners (3 times): 1975–76, 1998–99, 1999–00
- 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
|Club||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Points For||Points Against||Points Difference||Bonus Points||Points|
|Green background are promotion play-off places. Pink background is the relegation place.
2015-16 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
||This list of "famous" or "notable" persons has no clear inclusion or exclusion criteria. Please help to define clear inclusion criteria and edit the list to contain only subjects that fit those criteria. (June 2012)|
- Joe Bearman
- James Hawken
- Brian 'Stack' Stevens
- Rob Thirlby
- Trent Andrews
- Viliami Ma'asi
- Adam Mills
- Will James
- Blair Cowan
- 2012–13 RFU Championship
- 2012–13 Cornish Pirates RFC season
- 2012–13 British and Irish Cup
- Newlyn RFC
- Penzance RFC
- "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.
- "Cornish Pirates 23-14 Munster". BBC. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- Official site
- Unofficial Fans site & Forum
- Camborne RFC
- Trelawny's Army
- London Cornish RFC – for those living in London missing Cornish Rugby!
- Cornish Pirates on itsrugby.co.uk