Previews of all the Round 4 games. All the teams plus news and comment
|Saturday, 17 December 2011||Sunday, 18 December 2011|
|Aberavon 40-14 Esher
Ayr 16-14 Bristol
Bedford 25-25 Llanelli
Currie 16-23 Nottingham
Doncaster 16-20 Swansea
London Scottish 28-12 Melrose
Moseley 0-29 Munster
Neath 6-24 Plymouth Albion
Pontypridd 18 - 7 Leeds Carnegie
Rotherham Titans 24-31 Ulster
|Cornish Pirates 30-3 Cross Keys
Leinster 245-24 London Welsh
|Top Runners Up|
|Pool 1||Pool 2|
|Pool 3||Pool 4|
|Pool 5||Pool 6|
At the end of the Pool Stage the highest ranking Club in each pool shall be the pool winner and the second highest ranking Club in each pool shall be the pool runner-up.
The rankings shall be determined in accordance with the following criteria and in the following order:
Competition Points or where The Competition Points are equal between two or more Clubs
The Club(s) that has achieved the greater number of wins or where these are equal
The aggregate points difference from all Matches in The Pool Stage for each of The Clubs that have an equal number of Competition wins or where these are equal
The Club that has scored the greatest number of points in The Pool Stage or where these are equal
The Club that has the better result(s) from The Match(es) between The Clubs or where these are equal
The greater number of tries scored in The Match(es) between The Clubs shall determine the rankings or where the tries scored are equal
The aggregate points difference in The Matches between The Clubs in The Pool Stage shall determine the rankings or where the aggregate points difference is equal
The fewest number of players shown a red card in The Pool Stage shall determine the rankings or where the number of red cards are equal
The fewest number of player shown a yellow card shall determine the rankings or where the number of red cards are equal
By the toss of a coin.
Aberavon play their last British & Irish Cup game of the season this Saturday when they welcome RFU Championship side Esher to the Talbot Athletic Ground.
Surrey side Esher are currently bottom of The Championship having lost all 14 of their league games this season.
In the British & Irish Cup, Esher have lost at Bedford (30 - 62), won at home to London Scottish (43 - 10), but lost to Leinster also at home (18 - 32).
Ricky Thomas; Richard Carter, Ben John, Will Price, Richard Thomas
Jamie Davies, David Pritchard; Rowan Jenkins, Marc Breeze, Will Taylor
Gavin Ronan, Sam Williams, Darryl Thomas, Richard Morris, Nathan Brown.
James Donovan, Craig Evans, Gareth Harvey, Nathan Strong
Rhydian Gierat, Anthony Edwards, Lloyd Howell.
Rob Kirby; Charlie Ingall, Joe Brown, Richard Mill, Sam Edgerley
Guy Swadling, Jamie Mackenzie; Ollie Mines, James Campbell, Ricky Nebbett
Ian Kench, Matt Symons, Alex Hughes, Shawn Renwick, John Downey.
Robin Boot, James Doherty, Sweeney Neil, Kevin Corrigan
Luke Daniels, Patrick O’Grady, Jamie See.
Referee, Johann Van Der Merwe (Scotland)
ARs, Julian Smith and Stuart Vaudin.
Ayr complete the pool section in the British and Irish Cup against Bristol.
The English side put Ayr out of the competition at the quarter final stages last season and a whiff of desire for revenge may well be wafting around Millbrae come kick-off on Saturday.
Bristol top the English Championship with 11 wins from 14 starts and head Bradford by three points with pre-season favourites and B and I Cup holders Cornish Pirates back in fifth.
In the B and I Cup, however, Bristol have lost all three matches they have contested so far, by 50-22 to Cornish Pirates, 14-10 to Mosley and 29-16 against Neath.
If that form is anything to go by, Ayr could end up their cup-winning year of 2011 with yet another English Championship scalp.
Bristol - Liam Middleton will take an experienced side to Millbrae on Saturday .
The Head Coach has yet to enjoy a victory in the competition, having suffered defeats to Cornish Pirates, Moseley and Neath this season.
But Bristol are on the back of a four-match winning streak and will be looking to continue their rich vein of form north of the border.
There are six survivors from the team that started in last weekend’s win over Plymouth Albion, with Jon Goodridge, Fautua Otto and William Helu all named in the backline.
Dan Montagu continues at no.8 while Wayne Thompson and captain Ross Johnston retain their places in the front row.
Matt Williams and Mark Davies return to the starting line-up, while Matt Keyte and James Letherby are also included.
Loan-signing Glen Townson is set for his full debut alongside Darren Barry. In the back-row, Josh Ovens returns to Bristol colours after a two-game absence.
On the replacements bench, Middleton reverts to a four forwards and three backs split with Jack Gadd included in the 22-man squad for the first time this season.
Jon Goodridge; James Letherby, Fautua Otto, William Helu, Matt Williams
Mark Davies, Matt Keyte; Darren Crompton, Ross Johnston (c), Wayne Thompson
Glen Townson, Darren Barry, Josh Ovens, Marco Mama, Dan Montagu.
Rhys Lawrence, Will Davis, Harry Hone, Mitch Eadie
Tom Slater, Matty James, Jack Gadd.
Bedford Blues get set to welcome Welsh Principality side Llanelli tomorrow. Both sides have the chance to qualify for the knock-out stages of the competition if they were to win, but a loss would almost certainly be the end of the road in this season’s competition.
The two teams met in the group stages of the inaugural year of the competition and Bedford were pushed all the way by the Welsh team in a gruelling 36-24 win which saw plenty of tries, passion, perfect place kicking and a streaker.
The Blues have thrown themselves into training this week following a close fought win over Rotherham last Saturday. One man who has been given a slight leave of absence though is winger Josh Bassett who joined up with the England Under 20 squad during a training trip to Portugal. The 19-year-old has been in sparkling form this season having racked up 11 tries and his eye for the line certainly seems to have struck a chord with the England coaching set up.
There is also a welcome return to action for former England Under 20 star Gregor Gillanders who has recovered from an anterior cruciate ligament injury which he picked up last season. The back row star comes straight into the starting line-up along with Henry Staff who starts his first game following two appearances from the bench. Only three players who started against Rotherham last week – Ian Vass, Chris Locke and Alex Rae - get the nod for this all important clash against Llanelli.
Speaking ahead of the game, Blues Director of Rugby Mike Rayer said: “We have, and continue, to take the British & Irish Cup very seriously and we know that Llanelli come to us looking to book a place in the quarter finals. All of the ingredients are there for a cracking game of rugby and we are all looking forward to it.
“We’ve had some tough fixtures in recent weeks and we have another one on the horizon when we travel to Bristol next Friday night. We have a good sized squad and thankfully a lot of our long term injuries are on mend so I am a little spoilt for choice when it comes to selection.
“Gregor and Henry are in the starting line-up while Neil Cochrane also returns to the bench and it is vital for these lads to get some game time. Likewise, there are a few players who haven’t featured in recent weeks so they have a great opportunity to stake a claim.
“I have a lot of respect for Llanelli and know that they will be eager to get revenge for their last visit to Goldington Road and also seal a final eight spot. We, however, also want to progress in this competition, go one better than last season and pick up that trophy.”
Llanelli. A home defeat by Leinster at Parc y Scarlets last Sunday has left a competitive Pool 4 in the melting pot going into the final round of fixtures, with Llanelli, London Welsh and Melrose all harbouring ambitions of progressing to the last eight.
But Llanelli head of rugby Anthony Buchanan insists his side are focusing on nothing but getting a result at Goldington Road and with it ensuring that their fate remains in their own hands.
"We've got to go and get something at Bedford and we can't be frightened of that," said Buchanan.
"We went there two years ago and lost, but we're more experienced and we are a better team now. We'll go there with a lot of confidence.
Full Story www.thisissouthwales.co.uk
With possible doubts over a couple players, Llanelli name a 24 man squad to travel to Bedford in search of a win, which should guarantee them a quarter final spot. Owen Williams is again selected at outsidehalf after a successful 40 minutes against Leinster A ,which was his first game back after long term injury. Young Academy scrum half Rhodri Williams makes his debut for Llanelli RFC after some fine games for the Regional team,which means Welsh 7s player Justin James moves to the right wing.
Up front the experience of captain Adam Powell and hooker Craig Hawkins and the Hopkins boys is vital while on the bench another two 18year old young Academy players Jordan Williams( Full back/outside/half) and openside Daniel Thomas will be wanting to be in the thick of the action and gain that vital playing experience against one of the top English Championship teams.
15.Daniel Evans 14.Justin James 13.Iolo Evans12.Johnny Lewis
11.Andy Fenby 10.Owen Williams 9.Rhodri Williams
1.Shaun Hopkins 2.Craig Hawkins 3. Simon Gardiner 4.Adam Powell (C)
5.Nathan White 6.Mat Gilbert 7. Duane Eager 8.Allan Powell
16.Aled Hopkins.17.Kirby Myhill. 18.Dominic Day 19.Daniel Thomas.20.Dan Newton
21.Jordan Williams.22.Bowdy Davies. 23.Ryan Bayliss.24.Rhys Thomas
15. Mark Kohler 14. David Vincent 13. Henry Staff 12. Ian Vass
11. Tom Bedford 10. Jamie Lennard 9. Stefan Liebenberg
1. Nico Steenkamp 2. Chris Locke 3. Dan Seal 4. Billy Johnson
5. Sam Pailor 6. Gregor Gillanders 7. Alex Rae (c) 8. Don Barrell
16. Neil Cochrane, 17. Phil Boulton, 18. Mike Howard, 19. Bry White
20. Luke Baldwin, 21. Jake Sharp, 22. Josh Bassett.
Currie laid Pitch covers put down last night (Thursday) after training in view of frost and the forecast slight fall of snow overnight
Volunteers have been called on to help remove the covers and assist with other dutieson Saturday morning.
After the Currie's 5-star, 5-try performance against Swansea last weekend there has been bags of enthusiasm at training this week particularly as all teams in our group have won only one match a piece and we have an outside chance of qualification to the quarter finals on 21 January if we beat Nottingham.
The 6 pool winners and the 2 best runners up progress to the 1/4's so there is every incentive for the squad to perform to their full potential.
Nottingham are going well at the moment and are 4th in the Championship and have listed a strong side.
The Currie squad has played with great credit since facing Leeds Carnegie in the opening B & I Cup match and Saturday's game will be a good measure of any improvements we have made since then.
Both Meggetland and Murrayfield are on standby should Malleny Park fall foul of the weather - fingers crossed all will be OK. Any changes will be advised on the website.
There are only two changes to the starting line up from last week. Mark Cairns ( Capt) returns from his Scotland 7's duties replacing Malcolm Peacock who can consider himself unlucky not to be starting.
Steve Turnbull the Edinburgh Rugby 2nd row replaces the injured Rob Verbarkel.
Gary Temple returns from injury and is on the bench . John Houston, Gregor Hunter and Andrew Kelly all from Edinburgh Rugby are also on the bench.
Nottingham Rugby look to complete their British and Irish Cup programme with a 100 per cent record when they play Currie in Edinburgh tomorrow.
Earlier this week, strong winds blew down large trees, blocking the entrance to the Currie clubhouse and car park.
"The weather is going to play a factor," said Glenn Delaney, Nottingham's director of rugby. "We are expecting very windy conditions and it could be a game of two halves.
"We are going up there to get our pack in the game.
"We think we've got good enough forwards to give us a supply of ball to enable us to perform."
Full Story www.thisisnottingham.co.uk
The Green and Whites go into the match with a 100% record in the competition this season, following wins against Doncaster and Rotherham and the stunning comeback victory against Pontypridd.
The format of the competition, where teams don’t play matches against other teams in their group, means that despite winning every match, Nottingham currently lie second behind Ulster in their group due to a slightly inferior points difference.
A win will see them secure a quarter final spot, likely to be as one of the best runners up.
Previous matches have seen several of the club’s younger players given the chance to shine and the exuberance of their performances has captured the imagination of the Meadow Lane crowd. Their performances have also been appreciated by their coach
Director of Rugby Glenn Delaney said, “I’m looking forward to the match this weekend and having the chance to see some of the young lads take to the field again.
“They’ve done really well this year, against some tough opposition and they certainly deserve a shot at the quarter finals for the way they’ve performed.
“A trip to any of the Celtic sides’ home grounds is always a tough prospect, but I’m confident that the lads will want to continue their progress in the competition with another strong showing.”
Currie currently lie bottom of their group, but had an excellent victory away to Swansea in their previous Cup fixture.
Cup Captain Finlay Barnham commented, “We know that Currie will be a tough prospect at Malleny Park, but we’re looking forward to the challenge. We’ve had a good run in the competition this season and we’ll be looking to give all of our fans who travel up, a good Christmas send off with a strong performance.”
15 Jamie Forbes 14 Barry Mansfield 13 Douglas Fife 12 Andy MacMahon
11 James Johnstone 10 Andrew Binikos 9 Chris Leck
1 John Cox 2 Finlay Gillies 3 Colin Phillips 4 Simon Marcell
5 Steve Turnbull 6 Steve Burton 7 Mark Cairns (c) 8 Ross Weston
16 Andy Kely 17 Ross Merrilees 18 Gary Temple 19 Malcolm Peacock
20 Richard Snedden 21 Gregor Hunter 22 John Houston
Matt Parr, Ollie Taylor, Matt Shields, Mitchell Todd
Lee Morley, Rupert Cooper, Jonny Baird, Phil Eggleshaw
Finlay Barnham (c), Joe Cobden, Jack Cobden, Joe Munro
Dante Mama, Andrew Savage, James Stokes
Joe Duffey, Raphael Olive, Ben Prescott, Craig Hammond
Sean Romans, Jack Bradford, Ryan Hough
Doncaster’s Brett Davey has named five changes to his British and Irish Cup team to take on Swansea at Castle Park this Saturday.
The match sees several regular starters rested, although the DOR asserts that despite the lack of squad numbers the Knights will always put out a strong side and give different players the chance to stake a claim for a starting jersey.
Doncaster have suffered some untimely injuries lately, but Davey sees the competition as a massive opportunity for his side to push for silverware.
“I’d love to give our captain Chris Hallam a rest, but we have no other scrum-half. We emphasise impact from the bench and we have picked replacements who can change the game to give us a shot at the knockout stages.”
The side includes two players recently returned from loan spells, and Davey believes prop Royce Burke-Flynn and winger Michael Bateman have both come back stronger players. “Royce has proven himself in recent weeks and there is strong competition between him and Alex Brown at tight-head now. Bateman’s loan was good for him – he scored a few tries for Hull Ionians and he’s more confident now. The game-time has made a difference for both of them.” The Knights’ chances of progressing to the knock-out stages of the Cup depend on them claiming victory over Swansea and other results going their way – and Davey has assured supporters that his team will be playing for a bonus point to maximise their chances.
The DOR remains positive about the injury crisis at Castle Park, and with several senior players due to return soon the squad’s problems look to be easing.
“We’ve got a few players starting to return in the next 2/3 weeks. I’ve always said that we need to keep our main group of players fit until the start of the play-offs – then we’ll be up there with the top sides.”
15 Dougie Flockhart 14 Ben Toft 13 Oli Goss 12 Fred Burdon
11 Michael Bateman 10 David McIlwaine 9 Chris Hallam ©
1 Tom Davies 2 Jack Yeandle 3 Royce Burke-Flynn 4 Glen Kenworthy
5 Dominic Parsons 6 Andy Boyde 7 David Bradford 8 Michael Noone
16 Andy Brown 17 Steve Boden 18 Sam Cooke 19 Chris Planchant
20 Zack Farivarz 21 Latu Makaafi 22 Michael Keating
On Saturday London Scottish complete their pool matches in the British & Irish Cup with the long awaited "Battle of the Jocks" match against Melrose.
In what promises to be a tough and uncompromising game, both sides will be determined to come out on top. League form will go out of the window and Scottish will be looking to finish off their cup campaign in style.
Scottish will be putting out a full strength side for this game
Melrose Rugby Club was formed in 1877, one year before Scottish and are a club steeped in traditions of the Scottish game.
They are only one of three clubs in the world who have been inducted into the International Rugby Board Hall of Fame, with the other two being Cardiff RFC and the Barbarians RFC club.
Melrose was inducted into the Hall of Fame as the founding fathers of the 7 a side game of rugby, which was invented by the great Ned Haig in 1883.
Melrose won the first ever tournament beating their great local rivals Gala in the final. Despite the population of Melrose being only around 3500, they have maintained their position as being one of the leading rugby clubs in Scotland throughout the years.
In their three previous British & Irish cup matches this season Melrose have won against Bedford Blues 19 -17 and Aberavon 9 - 8 at home, with their one defeat coming and the hands of Leinster 42 - 20 away.
With their record in the cup this season, they will no doubt be looking to seal another victory on Saturday and progress to the quarter finals
Moseley go into this B&I cup match against Irish provincial giants Munster with a side much-changed from that which beat Esher last weekend in the Championship. In the front row both props get a rest after a run of matches and their places are taken by Anton O’Donnell and Colin Quigley.
The experienced Richard Stott comes back at lock, and in the back row Michael Maltman and Charlie Thomas get their first starts for a while alongside Michael Ellery. Ryan de la Harpe takes the scrum-half berth, and in the three-quarter line Mike Gillick, Callum McBurnie and Sam Brown all get opportunities to impress.
At full-back the Moseley coaches will be running their eyes over Glynn Hughes, a dual-registered England Academy player from Northampton, who makes his debut.
With a big Irish community in Birmingham there is much local interest in this match and a good turn-out is expected for what should be an open, attractive affair.
Munster's task tomorrow in Moseley is to take the points and then wait and see what happens in the other games before they know whether or not they'll be taking any further part in this year's British & Irish Cup.
As things stand, Munster are in second place in Pool Two on 13 points, Moseley are in second place in Pool Two on 13 points. So the winner will immediately want to know exactly what's happened in Pool Three where Bedford Blues, on 10 points host Llanelli and in Pool Six where either leaders Ulster Ravens or Nottingham could thwart Munster ambitions depending on how results go.
London Welsh on 10 points in Pool 4 also come into the equation until you consider their final game is against unbeaten Leinster in Dublin on Sunday.
"We've obviously no control of what's happening in other places " says coach Ian Costello, " so we'll focus solely on what we need to do in Moseley. With the format of this competition, it's hard to get an angle on opponents. You can't compare their performance against sides we've both played so far. But we do know they're playing week in week out and in contention for a place in the B&I play-offs, at home. I think that says it all."
Costello brings a side laced with experience and none more so than Mick O'Driscoll who is set this season to become the next Munster player to reach the 200th cap mark. O'Driscoll is partnered in the second row by one for the future Ian Nagle while their backline can only benefit by the presence of Will Chambers who drops down from the senior squad.
JJ Hanrahan partners Chambers in the centre and they've loads of pace out wide in the shape of Luke O'Dea who scored a try on his debut for the senior side and full back Sean Scanlon.
1. Anton O’donnell; 2.Adam Caves; 3.Colin Quigley; 4.Richard Stott; 5.Paul Spivey
6. Michael Maltman; 7. Charley Thomas; 8. Michael Ellery
9. Ryan De La Harpe; 10. Bradley Davies; 11. Mike Gillick; 12.Callum Mcburnie
13. Brad Hunt; 14.Sam Brown; 15. Glynn Hughes
16. Craig Voisey;17. Tom Warren; 18. Dan Sanderson; 19 Chevvy Pennycook
20.Neil Mason; 21.Anthony Carter; 22 William Robinson.
S Scanlon; L O'Dea, JJ Hanrahan, W Chambers, T Gleeson
S Deasy, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, S Henry, C Condon;
M O'Driscoll, I Nagle; B Holland capt, D O'Callaghan, P Butler.
D Casey, P Borlase, D Foley, B O'Hara
C Sheridan, D Cusack, R O'Mahony.
Neath’s 2011/12 British & Irish Cup campaign ends on Saturday when Plymouth Albion come to The Gnoll.
Injuries have taken their toll so the Welsh All Blacks ring the changes.
Neath coach Patrick Horgan said, “As a rule, we don’t complain about injuries but three players went under the surgeon’s knife this week and we have no fewer than 15 players out of contention for this Saturday.
“But we will still be looking to end our British and Irish campaign on a high note with a win.
Playing against a full-time, professional side like Plymouth Albion is an excellent opportunity for the young lads and I am sure the Gnoll crowd, in full Christmas spirit, will give the new boys their total backing.”
The South Wales Evening Post reports that Neath have borrowed four players from Llangennech as a spate of injuries take their toll at The Gnoll.
Rhodri Jones and Ellis Phillips make their debuts at centre, while Ashley Banfield and Bedwyr Harries are named in the back row of a pack which has yet to be finalised.
They were recommended to Neath by former Wales hooker Barry Williams, who now coaches the division one west outfit.
Full Story: www.thisissouthwales.co.uk
Plymouth Albion's director of rugby Peter Drewett will use Saturday's British & Irish Cup match against Neath at the Gnoll to have a look at some of the club's younger players.
Albion have made 13 changes to their team that played Bristol last week in the Championship.
Mark Lee and Steve Johns are the only players to keep their places, although they both switch positions.
Neither Albion nor Neath can progress through to the quarter-finals of the competition, so Drewett, who only took over at Albion a month ago, believes it is a perfect chance for him to see what some of his squad players can do.
"This is a real opportunity to see a number of players in a game situation who have not had a start yet," said Drewett.
Albion and Neath know each other well, having played each other nine times in pre-season matches over the last eight years, with the last meeting only in August.
"There is a lot of respect between both clubs and we know we have a level of competition which will bring the best out of the players," added Drewett.
15 E.Phillips; 14 D.Evans, 13 E.Jones, 12 R.Jones, 11 J.Davies
10 C.Clement, 9 T.Barry
1 N.Downs (captain), 2 A.Littlehales, 3 T.Price; 4 S.Millar, 5 J.Griffiths
6 A.Banfield, 8 T.Davies, 7 L.Ward
15 Mark Lee, 14 Ollie Mulberry, 13 Steve Johns, 12 Paul Bailey (capt)
11 Gareth Espin, 10 Rob Avery-Wright, 9 Paul Rowley,
1 Jack Andrew, 2 Rupert Freestone, 3 Mark Manton, 4 Dylan Flashman
5 Addison Lockley, 6 Sam Matavesi, 7 James Harris, 8 Owain Lloyd.
16 Davy McGregor, 17 Rob Dugard, 18 Kyle Mason, 19 Charlie Grace
20 Dale Farnham, 21 Sam Hocking, 22 Bevon Armitage, 23 Wayne Sprangle.
Pontypridd play hosts to English Championship opponents Leeds Carnegie on Saturday evening in a crunch British & Irish Cup qualifying tie, to be screened live on S4C.
Having notched up one comprehensive win, at home to Swansea, and two narrow away defeats to Nottingham and Ulster in their qualifying games so far, Pontypridd know that a home win against Leeds is the basic requirement to secure progression from pool 5 of the competition.
The agony of a last ditch, one point defeat to Ulster Ravens last weekend will be the motivation that Ponty need to spur them on to victory against Leeds, as explained by coach Dale McIntosh.
“The disappointment of our result against Ulster was hurtful, as we had put ourselves in a position to win the game but squandered the opportunity” said McIntosh. “We owe it to ourselves and to our magnificent support who travelled to Belfast, to put things right with immediate effect.
“This is a tough competition, and it is hard to progress, but it is also proving to be a great experience for our squad. The higher the mountain, the greater the challenge and the motivation. Despite our current injury problems, we have the strength within our squad to be competitive and we certainly have the support to give us that extra push to victory.”
The latest injury victim amongst the Ponty ranks, having failed to recover from shoulder damage incurred against Ulster Ravens is lock Cory Hill. Already on the sick list were centre Adam Thomas, prop Stuart Williams, hooker Jack Dando, second row Craig Locke and back rowers Owen Sheppeard and Calum Thomas. Outside half Simon Humberstone has yet to regain match fitness following a summer shoulder operation, and winger Owen Williams is away with the Wales Sevens squad.
Making a timely return from a groin strain to claim a place in the Ponty starting line up is young outside half Lewis K Williams - one of six changes, positional or in personnel from the team that started the game against Ulster.
Leeds Carnegie travel to Sardis Road this Saturday to take on Pontypridd in the British & Irish Cup with both teams hoping a win could take them through to the knock out stages.
Leeds are currently third in Pool 6 after wins over Rotherham and Currie however Ulster Ravens are in pole position to win the pool after three wins from three.
They entertain Rotherham this weekend. A win for the Titans could open the door for Nottingham who travel to Currie also on 13 points from three wins out of three. Should either Ulster or Nottingham lose, that means Carnegie could qualify with a win at Pontypridd.
Pontypridd are in the weakest pool of the tournament and are top after just one win from their first three games. Last weekend they gained a losing bonus point in Ulster to go top by a point.
Diccon Edwards has named a completely changed starting line up for his this game.
Edwards has opted to rest the majority of his squad, who were involved in last weekend's win over Cornish Pirates. Mo Mustafa, Richard Beck, Dan White and Scott Freer, who were replacements against Pirates, come into the starting line up that includes eleven players who have come through the Leeds Carnegie Academy.
Lee Blackett also makes a return to the side and has been named as captain.
On the bench new signings Will Cliff and Jordan Davies, who joined the club on loan this week from Sale, are both included and could be set to make their first appearances for Leeds Carnegie.
15.Gareth Wyatt. 14.Chris Clayton. 13.Gavin Dacey. 12.Dafydd Lockyer. 11.Matthew Nuthall
10.Lewis K Williams. 9.Rhys Downes.
1.Ken Knaggs. 2.Huw Dowden. 3.Ryan Harford. 4.Ryan Savage. 5.Chris Dicomidis – cpt.
6.Jake Thomas. 7.Wayne O’Connor. 8.Dan Godfrey.
Lewis Jones; Dean Gunter; Harley Thomson; Darran Harris
Jordan Sieniawski; Tom Hetherington; Pat Palmer.
15. Christian Georgiou 14. Lee Blackett (c) 13. James Tincknell 12. Ollie Richards
11. Curtis Wilson 10. Tom Barrett 9. Dan White
1. Gareth Denman 2. Scott Freer 3. Mo Mustapha 4. Tom Denton
5. Dominic Barrow 6. Richard Beck 7. Andrew Thornley 8. Alex Rieder
16. Phil Nilsen 17. Cameron Zeiss 18. Jack Bergmanus 19. James Tyson
20. Will Cliff 21. Jordan Davis 22. Oli Denton
Rotherham Titans have selected a strong looking squad to face Ulster in their final pool game of the at Clifton Lane.
Eighteen of the squad of twenty two have started games in the Championship this season and a Titans victory, depending on other results, could see them progress into the knock-out stage of the competition.
The two sides have never met previously, but the Ravens side selected boasts a wealth of experience with the majority of them having some Magners League/RaboDirect Pro12 experience.
Titans coach Andre Bester is expecting a tough encounter against the Ulstermen and commented, “It is great to have Ulster Ravens over here for our B&I Cup match and we warmly welcome them to Clifton Lane.
There’s no doubt Ulster will be very competitive and will provide us with the sternest of tests. It will provide us with a difficult challenge, but it is a challenge we will relish and look forward to.”
Ulster Ravens coach Gary Longwell has made three changes to the starting XV for this Saturday’s trip to play Rotherham Titans in the British & Irish Cup.
Andi Kyriacou has come in to replace Nigel Brady as hooker and captain, with Callum Black and Jerry Cronin retaining the prop positions.James Simpson and Lewis Stevenson form a new second row partnership as they replace Neil McComb and Tim Barker. The back row trio of Ali Birch, Willie Faloon and Mike McComish stays unchanged.
The entire from the win over Pontypridd last weekend remains intact and includes an all-Dungannon back three of Chris Cochrane, Conor Gaston and Peter Nelson. The bench has a similar look but there are call ups for David O’Mahoney, who will provide cover at lock, and Stuart Olding, who can play outhalf or centre.
The Ravens go into the last game occupying top spot in Pool 5 of the British & Irish Cup, with all 6 pool winners and the best two runners up progressing to the quarter finals. A bonus point win for Longwell’s side would secure a home quarter final. The quarter finals are due to be played on Saturday 21st January 2012.
15 Stephen Hamilton, 14 John McMahon, 13 Elliot Brierley, 12 Byron Godfrey,
11 Peter Homan, 10 Cliffie Hodgson, 9 Matt Rhodes
1 Jamie Kilbane, 2 Jan-Francois Bester, 3 Ben Hooper, 4 Ben Harris
5 Adrian Griffiths, 6 Ben Wade, 7 Carl Kirwan, 8 Sam Dickinson (Capt.).
16 Ross White, 17 Ted Stagg, 18 Rob O’Donnell, 19 Shane Cahill,
20 Barney Maddison, 21 Jimmy Williams, 22 Ed Tellwright.
15 P Nelson, 14 C Gaston, 13 M Allen, 12 C Farrell
11 C Cochrane, 10 J McKinney, 9 I Porter
1 C Black, 2 A Kyriacou (Capt.), 3 J Cronin, 4 J Simpson
5 L Stevenson, 6 A Birch, 7 W Faloon, 8 M McComish.
16 N Annett, 17 C Carey, 18 D O’Mahoney, 19 N Faloon,
20 B McIlroy, 21 S Olding, 22 R Andrew.
Cornish Pirates - Two teams who have both played three and won three games in this season's British & Irish Cup competition go head to head at the Mennaye Field on Sunday.
In a new cross-pool format the Pirates top Pool 1 following wins against Bristol (50-22), Plymouth Albion (0-38), and Munster A (6-10).
With the forecast looking improved for Sunday, a good-sized crowd is expected and would be deserving at the Mennaye Field for what should be a fascinating clash.
The Pirates side appears almost a new-look team and is one that will be keen to perform well. Of all the players involved the return to fitness of wing Darren Daniel is seen as a big plus, both to the player and the team. Having not appeared since the pre-season friendlies he will be raring to taste meaningful competitive action, starting with this cup encounter.
It being the 30th anniversary this weekend of the Penlee Lifeboat Disaster, ahead of kick-off both sides will line up in front of the main grandstand for a minute's silence. A former captain of the Pirates reserves, John Blewett, was one of the brave eight crew members aboard the RNLB "Solomon Browne".
Cross Keys Top Pool 2 having impressively beaten:
Neath 45-18 (Welsh Premiership leaders)
Cross Keys winger Kristian Ballard, with four to his name, is the top top try-scorer in the competition to date, and their back line is one that can clearly play an expansive style, which is perhaps of no surprise considering former Wales star Mark Ring, who was the Director of Rugby with the Pirates in 1997, is the Welsh side's backs coach.
Cornish Pirates :
C. Thomas, D. Daniel, G. Pointer, A. Suniula, M. Evans
M. Dorrian, J. Doherty, B. Maidment, P. Burgess, C. Morgan (capt)
M. Myerscough, M. Smith, R. Brits, D. Ward, R. Storer.
A. Paver, R. Elloway, B. Cowan, K. Marriott, G. Cattle, S. Hill, R. McAte
15 Leon Andrews 14 Kristian Baller 13 Luke Williams 12 Nathan Williams
11 Marcus Johnstone 10 Steffan Jones 9 Owen Jones (c)
8 Rhys Williams 7 Cae Trayhern 6 Marc Popham 5 Lewis Rawlins
4 Danny Hodge 3 Marc Jones 2 Jamie Sollis 1 Ian George
16 Robert Nash 17 Gerwyn Price 18 Craig Gould 19 Tom Lampard
20 Josh Robinson 21 Sam Mills 22 Rhys Dye
Referee : Simon Harding (RFU)
Assistants: Tom Foley & Nigel Higginson (his last RFU match before hanging up his whistle and flag)
Referee Coach : Jerry Wallis
Leinster have named their team to face London Welsh on Sunday at Donnybrook..
Prop Jack McGrath leads the team as the province bid to continue their fine recent run of form in the B&I Cup on Sunday afternoon.
Following last weekend’s 19-13 win in Llanelli, Ben Marshall forms the back row with Jordi Murphy and in-form number eight Leo Auva’a. With Steven Sykes rested after the birth of his first child, a boy, this week, Lansdowne second row Neilus Keogh will partner Mark Flanagan at second row.
In the backline John Cooney partners Noel Reid at half back with Fionn Carr coming into a pacey back three with Andrew Conway and David Kearney.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s Round 4 game in Donnybrook, Leinster ‘A’ Coach Colin McEntee said: “We’re pleased with our progress so far this year but we have another big test against London Welsh on Sunday. We’ll have tobe sharp and we’ll have to be accurate because they’re a tough side with a lot of flair out wide.
“We’re in a good position in our Pool having beaten Esher and Melrose previously – and to grind out a win in the manner in which we did in awful first half conditions in Parc y Scarlets was pleasing. The applic