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Cambridge Rugby Club eyeing up first home RFU Championship victory of the season against Cornish Pirates

After watching his Cambridge side get off the mark in the RFU Championship before the Christmas break, director of rugby Richie Williams is now targeting a maiden victory on home soil.

Life in English rugby’s second tier has been tough for debutants Cambridge, who opened up with seven straight losses.

However, they broke their duck away at London Scottish on December 23 and will be back in action for the first time since then on Saturday (January 13) with the visit of Cornish Pirates.

Richie Williams’ side will play host to Cornish Pirates this weekend. Picture: Chris Fell
Richie Williams’ side will play host to Cornish Pirates this weekend. Picture: Chris Fell

Cambridge have been well supported in their three Championship outings at Ellgia Fields, where defeats have been suffered by margins of 47, 18 and 14 points.

And with the confidence of chalking up their first win to call upon, Williams is eager to put a ‘big performance’ for the fans.

“We’ve definitely seen an uplift in performances as we’ve gone on. The big challenge has been trying to be consistent for longer periods of games,” said Williams.

“We were close to getting our first win at Nottingham just before London Scottish. The Nottingham game showed us we can compete, but there’s nothing like winning.

“We kept reinforcing the messages to the players and when you get a victory, it gives you self belief and it’s a reward for the hard work. It helps the players believe they belong at this level, because they do.

“There has been discussions about the fact that our better performances this year have come away from home.

“We feel like we’re due a big performance at home. We’ve been so well supported with big crowds so it would be fitting to follow our first win up with giving them something to cheer about.

“If we can produce something similar to what we did against London Scottish then we’ve got a good opportunity of getting something.”

This weekend’s visitors have only played six league games this term, with just one of those coming on their travels.

And having suffered a 64-17 defeat at the hands of the Pirates in the Premiership Cup in September, Williams is well aware of the task that lies ahead of his players.

He added: “They were very good that day (in the Premiership Cup) but it means we’re familiar with the style of rugby that they like to play.

“They’ve got a very strong forward pack and backs that can cause any team in the division problems.

“The good thing going into this game is that we’ll have had a couple of weeks to focus on them with the Christmas break, which is not something we usually get.”

Williams is also hopeful that his players will not have lost any momentum over the festive period.

Three weeks will have passed since the victory over Scottish when they take to the pitch against the travelling Pirates, yet Williams believes the break will have done his squad some good.

“We welcomed the break. We’ve deliberately planned our training sessions around the calendar once the fixtures came out, so we always knew we’d get an extended break over Christmas,” he said.

“The players knew it was coming and it was nice to go into the break with a win – I think it’s one of the reasons we played so well against Scottish.

“It gave us a nice lift and it allowed us to rest some injuries and get in some good recovery.”

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