"Caldy didn’t go away did they?!" - Premiership Cup offers up more plus points for Championship outfit

Director of Rugby Gareth Davies feels Saturday's display against Leicester is a promising sign ahead of the new season
©Steve Flynn

"The players should be encouraged by it. They've just mixed it with the best. If that's the one thing we get from this cup, then that's great. We can go into the Championship season not fearing anyone."

Those were the immediate thoughts of Director of Rugby Gareth Davies after Caldy’s 50-6 loss away to Leicester Tigers in the opening round of the 23-24 Premiership Cup campaign.

The Championship side were better than the scoreline suggested, and for much of the first half were the equals of their hosts, despite an early try of clinical nature from Tigers’ new boy Ollie Hassell-Collins.

The winger was picked out from a sumptuous cross-field ball by fellow debutant Jamie Shillcock, before beating his man to dot down. At that point, it looked like it could have been a one-sided affair, but it was only after the break that Leicester could build a lead after a tight, 14-6 half-time score.

Caldy had chances to score more points too, with a quick lineout move putting Ollie Hearn free with only a superb tackle from Hassell-Collins stopping a try in the corner.

There wasn't a huge difference between the Wirral side and Leicester, especially for the first 50 minutes, and Davies admitted that he was impressed with the effort of his forward pack, who almost scored a 20m maul try.

"We pride ourselves on our forwards pack. I wouldn't say that we dominated (at the maul), but we did very well in that area I thought.”

The home side did take control of the game after that, with six further second-half tries from Emeka Ilione (2), Francois van Wyk, Charlie Atkinson, Phil Cokanasiga and Jamie Shillcock to put a gloss onto the scoreline.

Afterwards, Davies admitted that the weather, which reached 32 degrees at pitch side, affected his players.

“Yeah I think that the full-time/part-time kicked in a little bit. The (hot) weather doesn't help obviously, but we gave a good account of ourselves.”

That view was reflected by Leicester Tigers’ DOR Dan McKellar, who said: "Caldy were good, they put us under pressure out there for a period. Caldy didn’t go away did they?”

Caldy will now prepare for their second Premiership Cup fixture next weekend against Ampthill, with clearly a higher chance of winning. They will be better for their experience at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, and represented the Championship admirably.

Premiership Rugby Cup - Round 1 Scores

Cornish Pirates 23-29 Bath

Doncaster 38-11 Cambridge

Ampthill 17-40 Newcastle

Exeter 75-0 Bristol

Gloucester 42-14 Nottingham

Harlequins 54-14 Hartpury

Leicester 50-6 Caldy

Coventry 28-14 Saracens

Sale 47-12 Bedford Blues

Ealing 48-22 Northampton

London Scottish 0-43 Jersey


Premiership Rugby Cup Points Table