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Dream Team: Cornish Pirates and ex-Bristol hooker Tom Channon

Tom Channon

Cornish Pirates hooker Tom Channon takes us through his Dream Team formed of the best players he has taken to the field alongside or faced as an opponent.

1. Mark Irish

Formidable scrummager as well as incredibly mobile around the park, ‘Iro’ was a mentor for me during my first senior contract. True legend.

2. Augustin Creevy

Taught me a lesson about what it means to be a scrummaging hooker. Was in awe of him and his ability to play with ball in hand as well as his skills at the breakdown.

3. Alan Paver

My coach at Pirates, Paves is obsessed with scrums. Famously moved from loosehead to tighthead and never looked back. A brilliant scrummager in his day.

4. Mariano Sambucetti

A real hard man in the Bristol pack when on the pitch, but a true gent off it. Always had time for me even when I was a young academy player.

5. Roy Winters

‘Big Dad’ as Roy was known describes him in two words. Friendly giant, yet also one of the toughest guys I’ve known. Most respected man at Bristol when I was there.

6. Ofisa Treviranus

Played against him whenever London Irish got relegated to the Championship. Ferocious ball carrier and big hitter in defence, you always remembered it when he tackled you!

7. Alex Cheesman

Absolute freak athlete who always gave 100 per cent in every game I played with him. Never left anything on the field. Unfortunately forced to retire too early, he is a true friend.

8. Sam Simmonds

Came on loan to Pirates and always made a line-break or big tackle in every game. His raw speed and power were obvious from a young age.

9. Alex Day

Everything you want in a No.9. Never shuts up and really winds-up the opposition. Played 100 games in three years at Pirates showing durability to play week-in, week-out.

10. Will Cargill

One of the most professional guys I’ve played with. No one works harder and he controls the game brilliantly. Established Championship player and a good leader.

11. Joe Cokanasiga

Played against us for London Irish and destroyed a few of our players along the way. Was obvious he would go on to achieve international honours.

12. Junior Fatialofa

First guy I met in pro rugby, made me feel right at home. Played with and against him and one of the hardest hitters ever, but one of the nicest blokes.

13. Fautua Otto

Lived with him for a year at Bristol and he was probably our first name on the team sheet then. Such a threat in attack, a real fans’ favourite.

14. Cooper Vuna

Scored a hat-trick against us when he was at Worcester. I remember he was just unplayable that day and none of us knew what to do.

15. Matt Evans

Been at Pirates for the seven years I’ve been here and a close friend. Immensely powerful, great spot tackler and the only back-three player I’ve played with who can bump off a tighthead prop. Top bloke as well as a top player.

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