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Lions stepping into a Cornish cauldron
DAVID Dunn expressed his “honour” at leading Lions into battle at Redruth tomorrow, before urging his charges to silence Hellfire Corner.
The Cornish club is steeped in history and boasts some of the most vocal and partisan supporters in English club rugby, many of whom stand on the intimidating famous corner of the 12,000 capacity Recreation Ground .
The Reds have started their National Two South campaign with victories over Taunton and Cornish rivals Launceston, but Dunn, whose men also have a brace of wins to their name, insists his charges won’t freeze on the big stage.
The Lions chief, whose side are competing in English rugby’s fourth tier for the first time, told the Echo: “It hits home what we have achieved and where we are when we go to places like Redruth.
“It will be a particularly special moment for our full-back Dan Pollard, who is a proud Cornishman from Truro.
“The hairs on the back of his neck will be standing up when he walks out there. He would have watched some of Redruth’s big games as a lad and I know he played there as a colt, yet here he is playing league rugby there. It will be amazing for him.
“In terms of realising where we are now as a club, getting to play at places like this is a real honour.”
Dunn added: “Cornwall is never an easy place to go. In my experience it is always very hostile and very partisan, so we are expecting to be given no favours both on and off the field, particularly from the crowd on Hellfire Corner. But we must not let the occasion get to us at all. They have had two wins but so have we and we should have nothing to fear going down there.”
Dunn’s squad will travel to Cornwall today ahead of tomorrow’s clash in a bid to avoid a near 400-mile round trip on the west’s notorious A-roads in one day.
Dunn added: “It’s a long way and too far to go there and back in one day, so we will be travelling down today and staying overnight. The club and the town are well set up for visiting rugby teams so we are staying at a hotel that is well versed in looking after rugby squads.
“The attitude in the squad is fantastic and the players always respond. It’s an awful long way to go to not give a good account of ourselves so the onus is on us to perform having travelled all that way.”
Anthony Dunkerley and Tim Seward are unavailable for the trip west, but Eddie Edwards and Ben Stewart return to Dunn’s squad.
Lions: (from) Pollard, O’Brien, Connelly, Chislett, Stevenson, Hardcastle, Featherstone, Wilford, Dunn, Manning, Brooks, Forrest, Peart, Andrews, Grace, Cawley, Hart, Trow, Edwards, Stewart.