Cambridge Rugby Head Coach Richie Williams has named his 23-man side to face Cornish Pirates in round three of the Premiership Rugby Cup competition.

Welcoming the south-west-based Championship side to Ellgia Fields for their first competitive match of the season at home, Williams’ side has once again undergone changes ahead of the clash.

Heading home after defeat in rounds one and two to Doncaster Knights and Northampton Saints respectively, Williams is keen to continue to use the cup competition as a chance to test out combinations ahead of Cambridge’s opening match in the Championship on Saturday 21 October.

Before naming his side for round three, Williams first reflected on last week’s 55-5 defeat to Premiership giants Northampton Saints;

“As we enter Round three of the Premiership Rugby Cup, we have already learned a huge amount of what is required to be competitive this season. The Northampton Saints fixture was a momentous occasion and one that I am sure will live long in the memory. It was a special atmosphere and a great opportunity to play in front of nearly 6000 supporters.”

“My immediate emotion after the game was one of disappointment, as I felt we didn’t give the best account of ourselves in the opening 40 minutes. Granted, the quality of opposition was extremely high and we weren’t quick enough to adapt to the speed and intensity that Saints brought.”

“However, that disappointment quickly faded and there was a sense of pride as the players improved in the second half and only lost 17-5. We scored a consolation try through Eli Caven as he continued his impressive scoring rate, making it four tries in four games.”

Now, looking ahead, Williams is nothing but positive about what’s to come;

“Despite our two opening loses, the spirit is still high within the group. Everyone has a clear understanding of what they need to do individually, which will then benefit the team. Captain George Bretag-Norris and Vice-Captain Ben Adams continue to drive a lot of the training standards and their leadership will be invaluable over the next few weeks.”

“We are back at home in round three as we face another full-time team in Cornish Pirates. Like ourselves, they have lost their opening two fixtures against Premiership teams Bath and Exeter Chiefs. They are a team full of experience and rely heavily on a physical forward pack. It will be a good barometer for us and will allow us to measure the growth from round one’s game against Doncaster Knights.”

Reviewing his team selection for round three, some notable faces were missing;

“We are able to rotate some players around this weekend, with Toby Dabell, Matty Collins and Ben Brownlie moving out of the match day squad. Joe Green, Ben Adams and Sam Hanks are all carrying a minor injury which means they will also sit this week out.”

“Into the squad comes Rian Hamilton, Jed Gelderbloom and Willie Priestley. It is also great to welcome back Lawrence Rayner, who will make his first appearance after rupturing his ACL in the last game of the season against Reading Rams back in April 2022. Since then, he has become an important cog in the coaching team, and I have been impressed with his level of engagement and support he has provided the players.”

Latest signing, Jamie Benson also gets the nod as a travelling reserve;

“This week, we also welcome new fly half Jamie Benson to the club. Jamie joins us on a season long loan from Harlequins as he also combines his final year of studies at Cambridge University. He will be available as of round four.”

Tickets for the clash are still available and with prices set to increase on the day, fans are encouraged to buy now to make the most of our pre-sale prices. Tickets can be purchased from the Cambridge Rugby website.

Cambridge Rugby line-up:

15 – Joe Tarrant

14 – Matt Hema

13 – Tom Hoppe

12 – Matty Williams

11 – Eli Caven

10 – Steff James

9 – Kieran Duffin

1 – Harry Morley

2 – Morgan Veness

3 – Billy Walker

4 – Gareth Baxter

5 – Kieran Frost

6 – George Bretag-Norris ©

7 – Matt Dawson

8 – Jared Cardew


16 – Willie Priestley

17 – Jake Elwood

18 – Seb Brownhill

19 – Noah Sloot

20 – Archie Strath

21 – Jed Gelderbloom

22 – Lawrence Rayner

23 – Rian Hamilton