RFU Championship round five preview

Bedford Blues
Bedford Blues

In what must be a first for the Championship five of the weekend’s six games take place on a Friday evening, with Saturday’s solitary fixture seeing winless Jersey at home to Bedford.

That fixture sees the side with the worst defence come up against the side with the best attack, although the Channel Islanders will be heartened by their first Championship point of the season after scoring four tries in their 54-31 defeat away to a rampant Rotherham.

Bedford left it late to claim their third win of the season against Nottingham - a try deep into injury-time inflicting a second straight loss on the Green & Whites who host London Scottish in round five in one of the five floodlit Friday fixtures.

Nottingham achieved home and away wins against their opponents last season but the Exiles came within a whisker of leaving Meadow Lane with the points before going down to a 33-31 defeat.

Bristol play one of their ‘bogey’ sides in the form of Moseley at the Memorial Stadium.

Despite Moseley being near the bottom end of the table in recent years they boast a decent record of three wins and a draw in all competitions in the last seven meetings with one of the division’s dominant forces.

Indeed, they have not been beaten by Bristol at Billesley Common in the last three years.

Doncaster and Cornish Pirates have always enjoyed stirring battles since they first came together in level two rugby nearly a decade ago.

Last season the home side came out on top on each occasion but the Pirates did enjoy success twice at Castle Park in the 2010-11 campaign.

Plymouth and Rotherham have traditionally struggled to score points – but not this season.

Two of the division’s most potent attacks come together at Brickfields for what should be an entertaining clash.

Each side has passed the century mark in terms of points scored after four rounds of action following impressive wins over Moseley and Jersey respectively.

By this stage last year Plymouth had scored 69 points compared to 100 this, while Rotherham had scored just 93 – 46 fewer than their current total. Rotherham’s last victory at Brickfields came in February 2009, when they won 33-20.

Finally, Newcastle and Leeds play each other for the first time in a league fixture since they were in involved in a Premiership relegation dogfight in 2010-11.

Leeds, who beat Bristol 50-31 last time out, have won on their last two visits to Kingston Park.

Newcastle’s last home success over Carnegie came back in October 2007. The Falcons dropped their first point of the season after failing to get a try bonus point against Cornish Pirates.


Friday, 28 September

Bristol Rugby v Moseley, 7.45pm Memorial Stadium

Doncaster Knights v Cornish Pirates, 7.45pm Castle Park

Nottingham v London Scottish, 7.45pm Meadow Lane Stadium

Plymouth Albion v Rotherham Titans, 7.45 Brickfields

Newcastle Falcons v Leeds Carnegie, 8pm Kingston Park, Newcastle

Saturday, 29 September

Jersey v Bedford Blues, 3pm St Peter