CORNWALL will be hoping it is third time lucky for them when they meet Lancashire in the County Championship final at Twickenham on Sunday (12noon).
The Duchy have been beaten by Lancashire in the last two finals at English rugby’s HQ.
Lancashire came from behind last year to win 36-26, having triumphed 35-26 in 2013.
Cornwall have not won the title since 1999, but head coach Graham Dawe, who is also Plymouth Albion’s director of rugby, hopes his young team can put that record straight this weekend.
“We have probably got less experience than last year, but that does not make us any worse of a team,” said Dawe, who has given youngsters like Billy Searle and Robin Redlake key roles this season.
“We know Lancashire can play in a multiple of ways but we believe our team has progressed.
“Like any game of rugby, we are going into it to win and we certainly feel we have a realistic chance.”
He added: “I feel we have got a balanced game. Jake Murphy has found a cornerstone playing at 13 with his left foot and tackling ability. He’s also experienced and has helped look after the young back three.
“Nielson Webber is also a rock in defence. He and (captain) Kyle Marriott are text-book tacklers.”
Sunday’s match will once again see former England hooker Dawe come up against his former Sale team-mate Mark Nelson, who is Lancashire long-serving boss.
Dawe, who helped Devon to six finals between 2000 and 2008, said: “He’s a good mate, who I have a lot of time and respect for.”
Nelson has guided Lancashire to 10 finals, winning seven times.
Dawe has also been involved in 10 Championship finals as a player or coach and did help Devon to two victories over Lancashire in 2005 and 2007.
Meanwhile, former Albion coach James Shanahan will captain Eastern Counties against Surrey in the County Plate final on Sunday (10am).
Shanahan returned to Old Albanian as a coach in April after leaving Albion but he was registered with them as a player from December.
Following Cornwall’s game, England will play the Barbarians, with former Albion players Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie featuring for their country in that game.
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