Doncaster Knights and Jersey will be looking to translate their good form in the last round of the British & Irish Cup into the RFU Championship when the league programme resumes this weekend.
The Knights managed to get their season up and running with a 27-13 victory over Nottingham at Meadow Lane – their first win in all competitions since the end of January – and will be looking to make it win number two against Moseley at Castle Park on Friday night. Last season’s corresponding fixture finished 29-21 to the Knights.
Newcastle Falcons entertain Rotherham Titans in the second of the two Championship fixtures being staged on Friday night.
The two teams last came together at this level back in the 1996-97 season, the Falcons winning on each occasion on their way to promotion to the Premiership.
Rotherham, who went on to finish in mid-table, were beaten 61-13 at Kingston Park on May 4, 1997 – 15 days after they suffered a 45-21 loss at Clifton Lane.
The last four meetings between the sides have come in the Premiership. Indeed, the Falcons were Rotherham’s last opponents in the top flight in what is still the only Premiership game to be played at the Don Valley Arena in Sheffield. Newcastle won 26-20 in front of a crowd of 5,200.
Despite both clubs moving up through the London Leagues on their way to the Championship, Jersey and London Scottish meet for the first time in league rugby at St Peter on Saturday.
Jersey go into the match buoyed by an excellent B&I Cup display against Leeds.
Having drawn at home to Pontypridd in round one, Jersey went one better at York RUFC and were well worth their 33-27 win. Fly-half Michael Le Bourgeois was successful with all but one of his nine attempts at goal.
Saturday’s second fixture pits together much more familiar opponents in the form of Plymouth and Nottingham.
Nottingham have the upper hand in the head-to-head stakes, winning the last four matches between the two sides.
Plymouth’s last success came just under three years ago - 31-25 at Brickfields on October 31, 2009.
Sunday’s double-header features last year’s beaten finalists Cornish Pirates versus Leeds Carnegie, followed shortly afterwards by the battle between the top two clubs from Stage One last season – Bristol Rugby and Bedford Blues.
Leeds were thrashed 52-10 by the Pirates in the regular season meeting at the Mennaye Field, but recovered well to get a draw in the promotion play-offs.
After back-to-back B&I Cup wins Bristol will be looking for their first league win at the fourth attempt.
Bedford Blues go into the game after racking up a record home score, 87-10 against Stirling.
Bristol did the double over Bedford in 2011-12, but the Blues won 23-16 at the Memorial Stadium the previous year.