Bedford Blues have today welcomed the decision of the British & Irish Cup Organising Committee to award them the result of the opening pool game against Cornish Pirates following a breach of the rules.
During the game on Sunday 12th October at the Mennaye Field, one of the Cornish Pirates props suffered an unfortunate injury and could no longer compete in the game. As the Pirates had already used their allocated front row replacements, this meant that the game had to revert to uncontested scrums and the home side would have to withdraw a player and resume the game with 14 men.

However, with the score at 34-28 in Bedford’s favour, the Pirates replaced the injured prop with a back and then went on to score what turned out to be the winning try when it was converted at the end of the game.
Following a hearing by the Organising Committee it was agreed that the result of the game prior to the injury to the Cornish Pirates prop should stand and they reversed the result meaning that Bedford Blues took five points from the game whilst the Cornish Pirates were awarded a losing bonus point.
Speaking after the decision was announced today, Bedford Blues chairman Geoff Irvine said: “I would like to make it quite clear that this unfortunate breach of the regulations and the decision of the organising committee has not and will not affect the excellent relationship which exists between Bedford Blues and the Cornish Pirates.
“We have been in contact with the Pirates throughout these proceedings and they have conducted themselves, as always, with dignity and while I am sure that they are disappointed with the decision, I am also sure that they will accept the findings and look to bounce straight back against Cross Keys this weekend.
“This was a very unfortunate occurrence for all of us and we are pleased with the decision to award the Blues the full five points from the game. We wish the Cornish Pirates well for the rest of the season and we'd also like to wish the young prop who was injured during the game a speedy recovery.”
The full decision of the Organising Committee can be read below – Cornish Pirates have the right to appeal the decision within 48 hours.

British & Irish Cup Organising Committee: Cornish Pirates

The following Organising Committee decision relates to the Round 1 British & Irish Cup fixture between Cornish Pirates and Bedford Blues on Sunday October 12.

Both teams started the match with five 'suitably trained and experienced' front-row players. During the match Pirates had provided such replacements to cover their injured players on the first occasion for both their hooker and prop.
In the 72nd minute, the match went to uncontested scrums as Pirates were not able to provide a further suitably trained and experienced front-row replacement to cover the injured prop Tyler Gendall. At this time, in accordance with Regulation 9.4, Cornish Pirates should have continued with fourteen men on the pitch.
However, Pirates replaced Gendall with fly-half Bertie Hokpin and continued to play with fifteen men.
The score at the time of the match going to uncontested scrums was 34-28 to Bedford.
Pirate's replacement Hopkin scored a try in the 78th minute which was converted to bring the final score to 35-34 to Pirates.
The Panel was of the view that Pirates had breached Regulation 9.4 by replacing the player whose departure caused the uncontested scrums and thereby having fifteen players on the field of play when they should have had only fourteen men. The sequence of events and the Regulations meant that Pirates should have played with fourteen men for the period of time from when the match went to uncontested scrums.
Whilst the Panel accepted that the Match Officials should have noted the extra man on the pitch, or did not realise Pirates should have only had fourteen men present, this does not change the fact that Pirates are ultimately responsible for compliance with Regulations and for the breach of those Regulations. This approach is entirely consistent with other decisions such as in the Bristol vs. Bedford case (23 October 2013) in the 2013/14 Greene King IPA Championship.

The Panel considered the sanctions available to them as set out in Regulation 9.5 and took into account previous cases involving similar breaches.  The Panel concluded that Pirates were in breach of Regulation 9.4 of the British & Irish Cup, and agreed that the appropriate sanction would be to discount the match points scored by Pirates (7) whilst in breach of said Regulation and therefore the result of the match will be recorded as 34-28 to Bedford with the competition points allocated accordingly.  

Cornish Pirates have 48 hours to appeal the decision and it is understood that they will be seeking legal advice accordingly.

Next Home Match

Friday 23rd August
1st XV Pre Season
Goldington Road