The Cornish Pirates rugby team live, work and play in the dramatic landscape of Cornwall, a Duchy with a granite backbone that gave birth to iconic buildings like the Eddystone Lighthouse and London’s Tower Bridge. And on a fresh autumn day at the Mennaye in Penzance, Matt Evans the Pirates Team Manager and a veteran of 2 rugby world cups, says a ‘seam of granite’ runs through their team: “Granite is part of our Cornish roots. It symbolises the values with which we approach the game”.
Pirates will need that strength to challenge star-studded Saracens, and secure their goal of making the elite rugby Premiership level. It was exciting to discover that Aussie Soles will play a small part in achieving that goal as team physio, Simon Edwards advocates wearing our arch support flip-flops for sports recovery: “I have been using Aussie Soles myself and encouraging members of our playing squad to use them between bouts of physical exercise”. Prevention of, and recovery from injury are Simon’s top concerns. Stretching and anatomically correct footwear on and off the pitch are vital to good foot health. It seems that even men of granite need arch support to recover in comfort!
Aussie Soles are sponsoring Callum Patterson, Pirates' mercurial Centre. Callum is a true ambassador for the Pirates and key to this crew that maraud and overwhelm opposition on the pitch. Off the pitch, down-to-earth Callum is softly spoken, charm personified and happy to spend time answering a few of our questions:
Q: Your 2019-20 season was interrupted by the pandemic. How did you spend the lockdown?
A: I was lucky enough to be locked down in my farming home in Ballymena, Northern Ireland where my family and girlfriend are based.
Q: How do you cope with the pressure of playing sport at this level?
A: We spend time mentally preparing for games. It helps to remind myself what a wonderful opportunity I have, that many youngsters dream of, and I should enjoy the moment.
Q: Rugby seems tougher than it’s ever been – do you worry about injury?
A: It is a physical sport and we train hard for the physical side of the game. Injury is most likely if you back away from encounters – it’s important to be committed.
Q: What do you do to prevent injury?
Stretching before and after the match is a vital part of injury prevention. Our contract also requires that we avoid other sports that could lead to injury off the pitch.
Q: What about foot pain?
We put our feet through a lot on the field, and I know what it’s like to suffer foot pain - plantar fasciitis is quite common in our sport and has a big impact on mobility. Stretching and recovering with the arch support and comfort that Aussie Soles provide are part of my regime.
Q: What do you see in your future beyond rugby?
A: I am planning to go into agriculture – I love working with people and animals.
The Pirates work hard but enjoy a sense of fun and at the training session the excitement is palpable. ‘One-and-all’ is the motto of the Cornish and its deeply ingrained in the Pirates’s psyche. Cornwall is rich in pirate history, much of it scandalous, but these modern-day pirates are professionals through and through – Rugby is their only job and they take it seriously. The crew live locally, and bring the passion, creativity and lovability that we might associate with the ‘Pirates of Penzance’ or Jack Sparrow from the Caribbean. When it comes to the physical side of the game, opponents beware – you can expect a wall of solid Cornish Granite.