Previews of all the Round 6 Play-Off games. All the teams plus news and comment
Saturday, 21 April 2012
Bristol v Doncaster, Pool A
Nottingham v London Welsh, Pool A
Bedford v Rotherham Titans, Pool B
Leeds Carnegie v Cornish Pirates, Pool B
London Scottish v Esher, Pool C
Plymouth Albion v Moseley, Pool C
Bristol leapfrogged London Welsh to go top of Pool A after a 26-20 victory at Old Deer Park in a match televised live by Sky Sports. The visitors scored two penalty tries to return home to the West Country with the points, although the Exiles fought back from a seventeen point deficit midway through the second half to set up a nervy finale.
First, Vili Ma'asi rumbled over from close range before Hudson Tonga'uiha crashed through two defenders for a converted try late on. But two penalties - one from Matthew Jones and one from replacement fly-half Matty James - confirmed a nail biting victory and put Bristol in pole position to progress through to the last four as pool winners.
Bristol will bid to make it four wins over Doncaster this season in Saturday's final fixture at the Memorial Stadium. Liam Middleton's men average over half a century of points per game against the Knights this season.
The result of the Old Deer Park match also ended Nottingham faint hopes of making the semi- finals. The Green & Whites had done all that was asked of them 24 hours earlier with a bonus point victory at Doncaster, but they now face an insurmountable six point gap going into the final weekend. Glenn Delaney's men conclude their campaign at home to London Welsh and will be looking for a repeat of the 26-10 win they enjoyed against the Exiles at Meadow Lane back in December.
Bedford and Cornish Pirates are through to the Championship semi-finals but it is yet to be decided which of the teams will progress as pool winners. The Blues remain top of the pool by two points going into this weekend's home clash against Rotherham despite losing by the narrowest of margins at the Pirates in their last outing.
Pirates ensured High Performance director Chris Stirling heads back to New Zealand this week on a winning note with a 21-20 win over the Blues. Rob Cook had a mixed day on his 100th appearance for the Pirates, kicking two penalties and a conversion but also picking up a yellow card. Prop Carl Rimmer and US Eagles centre Andrew Suniula each scored a try and Ceiron Thomas supplied an additional three pointer.
The final Pool B play- off fixtures are a repeat of those in Round 14 of the regular Championship season. On that occasion Bedford and Leeds edged the tightest of games: 24-23 and 14-13 respectively. Leeds are resigned to a second successive season in the Championship despite winning their first game in the play-offs: 21-18 at Rotherham.
Ryan Burrows scored a try against his former club and Andy Titterrell also dotted down, with the boots of Joe Ford and Tommy Bell supplying the rest of their points in a victory that means Leeds at least have the consolation of finishing as the highest ranked Yorkshire side in the division.
Esher kept their battle for survival going until the final weekend of play-off action after recording a bonus point victory at home to a Plymouth side already safe from the drop into the National Leagues. Esher threw themselves a lifeline with a seven try demolition of Albion, seven different names making it onto the scoresheet in the process. They could even afford the luxury of five of their conversion attempts being off target.
The Surrey outfit now faces a relegation shoot- out against London Scottish at the Athletic Ground on Saturday. But the Exiles still hold a five point cushion, meaning they are overwhelming favourites to retain their Championship status at the first time of asking.
Dan Mugford, already so influential in the relegation play-off pool stages, could prove to be Scottish's saviour. His last minute penalty in a 26-20 defeat away to Moseley earned them what could be a vital losing bonus point. Esher must now score four tries and beat London Scottish in their own backyard by a margin of eight points or more to stay up.
Mugford's strike was the second of two penalties for him on the day and he also converted both Charlie Hayter tries. Pool C leaders Moseley attracted their biggest crowd of the season to Billesley Common for their final home game of the season, with 1,349 spectators coming through the gate. They conclude their successful play-off campaign away to Plymouth.
Bristol - Liam Middleton shuffles his pack ahead of Bristol's final Pool A fixture with Doncaster Knights at the Memorial Stadium.
The Head Coach makes eight changes from the side that secured a spot in the semi-finals with a 26-20 win over London Welsh last weekend.
George Watkins returns to the starting line up for his first appearance since the 65-3 victory over Brett Davey's men on the opening day of the play-off campaign.
Jon Goodridge returns in place of Sean Marsden at full-back, while Tom Slater forms a half-back partnership with Matthew Jones.
In the pack, Mark Lilley comes in for his first start in Bristol colours alongside Jason Harris-Wright and Wayne Thompson.
Ben Glynn is named in the second row alongside former Knight Glen Townson, while James Merriman recovers from injury sustained against Nottingham to line up on the flank.
Middleton names a strong replacements bench, with Louis Silver and Will Davis included in the 22-man squad.
Jon Goodridge; George Watkins, Fautua Otto, Luke Eves, Will Helu
Matthew Jones, Tom Slater; Mark Lilley, Jason Harris-Wright, Wayne Thompson
Ben Glynn, Glen Townson, Iain Grieve (c), James Merriman, Dan Montagu.
Rhys Lawrence, Will Davis, Mariano Sambucetti, Henry Vandergla
Redford Pennycook, Louis Silver, Matty James.
Doncaster - Brett Davey has named his final team of the 2011/12 Championship season as the Knights travel to the West Country to face promotion favourites Bristol Rugby at the Memorial Ground this Saturday.
Vice captain Matt Challinor again takes the skipper’s armband, reverting to the blindside flanker position as Dan Smith holds on to his second row jersey. Davey’s only change sees the departing Jack Yeandle replace Steve Boden in the starting line-up who suffered a knock last time out against Nottingham.
The DOR is limited with his backs selection, but the return of utility back Toby Berridge gives them a replacement option having been down to only seven fit backs last weekend.
Davey said: “We have a freedom to play rugby and there is no pressure on us, but Bristol are a very strong side and will be pushing for a final victory ahead of their semi-final.
“I’ve been really proud of all the lads this season, it’s been tough in patches, but there have been some real highs it would be great to sign off with a win over the best team in the league.”
15 Michael Keating 14 Dougie Flockhart 13 Fred Burdon 12 PJ Gidlow
11 Ben Toft 10 Gareth Quinn-McDonogh 9 Michael Heaney
1 Tom Davies 2 Jack Yeandle 3 Tomas Francis 4 Dom Parsons
5 Dan Smith 6 Matt Challinor (capt) 7 Zack Farivarz 8 Chris Planchant
16 Andy Brown 17 Steve Boden 18 Alex Brown 19 Adam Kettle
20 David Bradford 21 Latu Makaafi 22 Toby Berridge
More News From Doncaster
Doncaster Knights have confirmed that top points scorer Dougie Flockhart will extend his contract at Castle Park, taking on the position as head of strength and conditioning as well as playing a pivotal on-field role.
Flockhart and fellow back Oli Goss have shared the position this season, helping to maintain and improve the squad’s fitness levels since the loss of Paul Devlin last September.
Full Story www.thestar.co.uk
Nottingham winger Rhys Crane is hoping to get the Meadow Lane debut that he feared would never come when he is named amongst the replacements for the visit of London Welsh tomorrow.
The 26-year-old’s campaign with the Green and Whites has been crippled by injury and compounded by a moment of madness.
Having painstakingly fought his way into the squad after 10 months recovering from knee surgery, his first appearance for Nottingham ended in disaster when he broke his jaw after just 30 seconds on the field.
He earned a recall to the side 12 weeks later for a trip away to Plymouth in February, an appearance that lasted 79 minutes before he saw red.
A one week ban on the eve of the play-off campaign was made all the worse as niggling injuries again forced him out of Glenn Delaney’s equations.
Crane is just hoping that he has overcome the worst of his misfortune and is thrilled to focus on ending his and Nottingham’s trying season on a high.
“They say bad luck comes in threes, so hopefully I’m clear of it now,” Crane smiled.
“It’s been frustrating to a certain extent, but right now I’m just excited to be part of it again. I just want to get out there and tear it up.
“It’s nice to be getting ready for a home game, finally getting to play at Meadow Lane will be pretty special.”
While the Green and Whites are out of the semi-final race and Welsh still in with a chance of securing top spot in the group, Crane insists there is everything still to play for.
With less than 80 minutes of action under his belt in his maiden campaign, he is desperate to make a compelling case for a new contract.
And with only 13 players on Nottingham’s books for next season, the former Sale star believes it is a sentiment shared by everyone.
“This season has been a write-off for me as far as developing or gaining anything, I can just try to build for next season,” Crane said.
“I just want to get out there and and hope for some good fortune and perform at my very best because I’m playing for a contract here and this is where I want to be.
“Everyone will be out there to perform because this is where next season starts for us.”
Nottingham’s Director of Rugby, Glenn Delaney said, “This match still has a lot riding on it for both teams. Welsh would love to top the group to give themselves an advantage in the semis, while we want to finish our season on a high and continue the development the squad has shown so we can take that forward to next season.
“Being at home, we also want to send our fans, who have been magnificent all season, home with a smile on their face and get them excited about coming to support the team again during the next campaign.”
In other team changes, former England international Ayoola Erinle, Captain Craig Hammond and prop Ben Prescott have been promoted to the starting XV. Back rower Phil Eggleshaw is brought onto the bench.
15 David Jackson 14 Ayoola Erinle 13 Tim Streather 12 Juan Pablo Socino
11 Andrew Savage 10 James Arlidge 9 Sean Romans
1 Matt Parr 2 Joe Duffey 3 Ben Prescott 4 Craig Hammond
5 Nic Rouse 6 Sione Kalamafoni 7 Brent Wilson 8 Filipo Levi.
Matt Holloway, Michael Holford, Alex Shaw, Phil Eggleshaw
Finlay Barnham, Kieran Hallett, Rhys Crane.
London Welsh - Semi-final place assured, London Welsh head to Nottingham on Saturday knowing that victory could yet see them top Pool A should Bristol slip up at home to Doncaster Knights.
The Exiles' late fight back against Bristol last weekend at Old Deer Park may have come too late to prevent them going down to a 26-20 defeat, but it did secure Lyn Jones' men the point they needed to guarantee a third consecutive Championship semi-final appearance.
Welsh, though, will first need to take care of business against Meadow Lane - a ground where they've already tasted defeat this season.
The Exiles were comprehensively beaten 26-10 when they travelled to Nottingham in December, with Ed Jackson crossing late on for Welsh's solitary try.
That defeat brought to an end a three consecutive wins for the Exiles at Meadow Lane, stretching back to the 2009/10 play-offs, when they won 17-10.
Welsh also came out on top 27-13 at Nottingham during the 2010/11 play-offs, having also recorded a 27-21 victory at Nottingham during the regular season.
When the two sides met earlier in Pool A, the Exiles came out on top 32-31 thanks to three tries in a nine-minute purple patch from James Lewis, Nick Scott and Adam Brown saw Welsh secure a round 1 victory.
15. Alex Davies, 14. Joe Ajuwa, 13. James Lewis, 12. Hudson Tonga'uiha
11. Nick Scott, 10. Gordon Ross (capt), 9. Jack Moates
1. Shawn Pittman, 2. Dan George, 3. James Tideswell, 4. Adam Brown
5. Matt Corker, 6. Lee Beach, 7. Mike Denbee, 8. Ed Jackson.
16. Vili Ma'asi, 17. Tom French, 18. Greg Bateman, 19. Gary Johnson
20. Jon Mills, 21. Rob Lewis, 22. Seb Jewell.
Bedford - Despite having secured a semi-final spot, Bedford Blues know that there still everything to play for in the final game of the Championship play-off pool game against Rotherham this weekend.
The Blues know that a win over Rotherham would secure top spot in Pool B but defeat would mean two losses in a row following the 21-20 result against Cornish Pirates on Sunday.
Bedford are picking from an almost fully fit squad with Dan Seal the only injury absentee. The game against Rotherham also sees Blues captain James Pritchard pulling on a Bedford shirt for a whopping 200th time.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, Blues Director of Rugby Mike Rayer paid tribute to Pritchard. He said: “We want to make sure that we put in a big performance especially as Pritch is making his 200th performance.
This is a great achievement for the skipper who has been outstanding for us this season, particularly in the play-offs and I’m sure that Pritch and the other 21 men in the squad will be doing all they can to bring home the all-important win.
“Although Rotherham missed out on a semi-final spot, we know that they aren’t going to just turn up and roll over and I’m sure that nothing would give Andre Bester and his coaching staff greater satisfaction than a victory over us.
It’s never easy against Rotherham and we need to remain focussed if we want to seal top spot in Pool B.”
15. James Pritchard (c) 14. Ollie Dodge 13. Brendan Burke 12. Henry Staff
11. Josh Bassett 10. Jamie Lennard 9. Darryl Veenendaal
1. Ricky Reeves 2. Neil Cochrane 3. Ben Cooper 4. Paul Tupai
5. Alex Rae 6. Jon fisher 7. Darren Fox 8. Don Barrell
16. Chris Locke, 17. Sam Walsh, 18. Phil Boulton, 19. Mike Howard
20. Sacha Harding, 21. Luke Baldwin, 22. Jake Sharp
More News From Bedford
Five players including captain James Pritchard have put pen-to-paper on new deals for next year’s Bedford Blues Championship campaign.
With a tough game against Rotherham this weekend followed by a two-legged semi-final and possibly more after that, Bedford Blues have moved quickly to re-sign club captain James Pritchard, centre Brendan Burke, flanker Darren Fox, prop Ben Cooper and scrum half Ali Price.
Full Story www.bedfordtoday.co.uk
Rotherham Titans - Titans have made just one change to the team that narrowly lost to Leeds Carnegie 18-21 at Clifton Lane last time out. The change sees Jamie Kilbane come in at loose head prop for the injured Shane Cahill.
Titans will be looking to round off their season on a high by taking the scalp of the stand-out side of the play-offs to date. Earlier in the season Rotherham produced a terrific display at Goldington Road, going down by a solitary point in their 25-24 defeat.
A similar type of performance would certainly give the Clifton Lane outfit an excellent opportunity of creating a shock result. However, Titans coach Andre Bester is acutely aware of the challenging task ahead as he said, “Bedford are the stand-out side in the play-offs and it is going to be a very difficult encounter down there. They lost by a point at Pirates last time out and they will be smarting from that.”
They will want to get back to winning ways immediately and that means we are in for a challenging afternoon on Saturday.
“People may assume we don’t have anything to play for, but they’d be wrong. We have our passion and we have our pride. It’s not about money, it’s not about results, it’s about passion and pride. That’s the most important thing in your life and if you lose that, then you have nothing. So yes, we have everything to play for at Bedford!”
15 Dave McCall, 14 Peter Homan, 13 Shane Monahan, 12 Pale Nonu
11 Ed Tellwright, 10 Stephen Hamilton, 9 Jimmy Williams
1 Jamie Kilbane, 2 Dan Baines, 3 Ben Hooper, 4 Neale Patrick
5 Barney Maddison, 6 Carl Kirwan, 7 Sean Dougall (Capt.), 8 Semisi Taulava.
16 Ted Stagg, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Talite Vaioleti, 19 Adrian Griffiths
20 Robin Copeland, 21 Matt Rhodes, 22 Byron Godfrey.
More News From Rotherham
Centre Dave McCall is one of several players waiting by the telephone as Rotherham Titans begin to build their squad for next season.
Coach Andre Bester has hinted that a raft of players won’t be retained and has already started to recruit newcomers to give him a stronger line-up when we start a whole new ball game in September.
Full Story www.rotherhamadvertiser.co.uk
Leeds Carnegie are set for an emotional last day of the season as a number of players make their final appearances for the club.
The club's four most experienced players in terms of career starts will all be making their final appearances. Prop Mike MacDonald will make his 127th appearance for the club since joining in 2006 whilst Lee Blackett returns on the wing for his 99th start for the club since joining from Rotherham in March 2006. Centre Scott Barrow has made 81 appearances for Leeds Carnegie whilst winger Michael Stephenson has made 48 appearances since joining from Bath in 2010.
Head Coach Diccon Edwards has made a number of changes to the side that won at Rotherham last Saturday. Tommy Bell will start at fly half in place of Joe Ford with Craig Hampson at scrum half instead of Will Cliff.
In the pack, Halani Aulika and Sean Hohneck are also making their final appearances for Leeds Carnegie whilst Richard Beck continues his role in the back row.
15. Stevie McColl 14. Lee Blackett 13. Iain Thornley 12. Scott Barrow
11. Michael Stephenson 10. Tommy Bell 9. Craig Hampson
1. Mike MacDonald 2. Andy Titterrell (c) 3. Halani Aulika 4. Jon Pendlebury
5. Sean Hohneck 6. Richard Beck 7. Jacob Rowan 8. Ryan Burrows
16. Scott Freer 17. Mo Mustafa 18. Ed Williamson 19. Chris Walker
20. Will Cliff 21. Jordan Davies 22. Pete Lucock
More News From Leeds
Leeds Carnegie have announced the release of 14 players following their failure to earn promotion, including former captain Mike MacDonald and ex-England winger Michael Stephenson.
Like USA prop MacDonald - who has played 127 times for Leeds - fellow departures Lee Blacklett, Scott Barrow and Tom Denton had all featured for the West Yorkshire club during their time in the Premiership.
Others to leave following tomorrow's game against Cornish Pirates include New Zealander lock Sean Hohneck and ex-Australia Test fly-half Lachlan MacKay, who has failed to play at all this season due to injury.
Full Story www.yorkshirepost.co.uk
Cornish Pirates - With a place in the semi-finals secured, the Cornish Pirates will travel to Leeds Carnegie relaxed and keen to give a good account of themselves in their final Pool B game.
There are several changes to the side from the one that beat Bedford Blues 21-20 at the Mennaye Field last Sunday, giving a number of players a chance to impress.
Commenting ahead of this weekend's game, head coach Ian Davies said:
"In a 'no pressure' fixture such as this Leeds will clearly be keen to sign off their season with a win, whilst its an opportunity for us to give certain personnel both game time and an opportunity to stake a claim for to wear the shirt in the semi-final."
G. Pointer, R. McAtee, A. Suniula, T. Cooper, D. Doherty
A. Penberthy, T. Kessell, B. Maidment, K. Marriott (capt), D. Ewers
M. Smith, L. McGlone, R. Brits, R. Elloway, R. Storer.
C. Rimmer, D. Ward, C. Morgan, P. Burgess
J. Doherty, C. Thomas, S. Hill.
More Pirates News
In his first match in charge of the Cornish Pirates following the departure of Chris Stirling, head coach Ian Davies has rung the changes for the team's final Pool B play-off fixture at Leeds on Saturday writes Dick Straughan.
The Pirates qualified for the RFU Championship semi-final last weekend by beating Bedford Blues and now travel to Headingley with a perfect opportunity to rest several key squad members ahead of the next stage of the competition.
Full Story www.thisiscornwall.co.uk
London Scottish - There is a lot more at stake compared to the previous meetings between the local rivals this season, with relegation still possible for both clubs. Scottish need a point to secure Championship rugby at the Athletic Ground for next season.
The largest crowd of the season is expected for Scottish’s final home game, as once again the Exiles’ season goes down to the last game. Last season’s head-to-head with Barking for promotion last year is replicated in this year’s showdown with Esher and Head Coach Simon Amor believes that experience will stand them in good stead.
Amor: “Those London Scottish fans who travelled to Barking will remember the amazing feeling of securing the win at the very end of the game. We are looking to repeat that win and feeling, though of course our visitors will do everything they can to stop this from happening.”
15 Stuart Peel 14 Agustin Gosio 13 Ryan Westren 12 Charlie Hayter
11Gerard Mullen 10 Dan Mugford 9 Jamie Stephenson
1 Alex Clarke 2 Adam Kwasnicki 3 Aaron Liffchak 4 Alex Karonias
5 Ben Thomas 6 James Kellard (c) 7 Zane Winslade 8 Mark Bright
16 Tom Standfield 17 Alex MacKenzie 18 Josh Thomas Brown 19 Willie Lipp
20 Alfie Lalanne 21 James Brown 22 Ollie Grove
More News From London Scottish
London Scottish requested clarification from the RFU Championship Organising Committee on the interpretation of Championship Regulation 3.1(a) several weeks ago during Stage 2 of the Competition (Play-off Stage). The Club then requested urgent clarification before their match versus Moseley last week.
The regulation in question includes the process for determining the position of Clubs in Stage 2 of the Competition (Play-Off Stage) who has an equal number of competition points.
The club felt the regulations were not clear and sought clarification on if matches won in Stage 1 of the RFU Championship are included throughout Stage 2 when deciding a tie break situation between clubs equal on competition points .
Full Story www.londonscottish.com
Esher - Mike Schmid is backing his Esher side to complete a sensational escape from relegation in Saturday’s winner-takes-all showdown at London Scottish.
Esher snatched a relegation lifeline with their emphatic seven-try bonus-point 42-17 destruction of Plymouth last weekend that closed the gap on Scottish to five points.
Now Esher need to repeat that feat in the final play-off game at Scottish and deny their local rivals any kind of bonus point to stay in the Championship.
It is a tall order but Esher coach Schmid believes his side can rise to the challenge and complete a remarkable escape from relegation.
Schmid said: “We know exactly what we have to do, the type of game we need to play, and that sets the mindset for the game, for the players.
“We can do it. We have the skills and the athletes to do it. We have just got to carry the momentum forward from last Saturday.
“Obviously, it’s our biggest game of the year. You can look back and think if we’d only done this or that we might not be in this position. But we are where we are. We can’t control the past. We have just got to take this as a one-off cup final.
“Scottish are a good side, a tough side to break down but the challenge is there for us and I firmly believe the boys can pull it off.
“The two teams are desperate for Championship survival so things are going to be tense and tough.
“Generally those games are tight anyway. The onus is on us to try and make sure it isn’t tight against a team that bases their game around a strong defence so it’s not an easy challenge at all.
“They beat us here but we had a lot of try-scoring opportunities that we didn’t take in that game which was disappointing. We have to take them this time. If we don’t, we go down.”
Schmid wants his side to play without fear and believes the side who can handle the pressure will win.
He said: “We showed what we could do last Saturday and we have to take that confidence with us into this game and improve upon it.
“It’ll be down to who can handle the pressure best and we must challenge ourselves to live in the next moment. Too often in the play-offs, when there’s been a mistake in a game, we’ve let that get to us and impact on us going forward.
“But there’s nothing we can do about that, just as there’s nothing we can do about those points we might have picked up in past games. All that matters is what you do next and that’s what you are judged on.
“We must just keep focused on the next job and try to do that one to the best of our ability.”
15 Luke Daniels 14 Seb Stegman 13 Tom Cheeseman 12 Mark Atkinson
11 Charlie Walker 10 Nicky Little 9 Clive Stuart Smith
8 Mike MacFarlane 7 Sam Stitcher 6 Peter Synnott 5 Matt Symons
4 Ian Kench 3 Ignatio Elosu 2 Stuart Mackie 1 David Millard
16 Kevin Corrigan 17 Ricky Nebbett 18 Perry Parker 19 Tom Alexander
20 Andy Garner 21 Jonny Hylton 22 Arran Cruickshanks
Full Preview www.esherrugby.com
Plymouth Albion will aim to end a difficult season on a high tomorrow when they entertain Moseley at Brickfields.
"We do want to give the supporters a good performance, so then they can look forward to next season," said head coach Nat Saumi, who is keen for his team to make up for last week's below par display at Esher
Albion make two changes to last weekend's team, both in the pack. Youngster Luke Cowan-Dickie is handed a start at prop, while Canadian World Cup player Tyler Hotson returns to the second row.
Tomorrow's meeting with be the fifth between Albion and Moseley this season.
All the previous clashes have been close and so far all have gone the way of the home teams, with Albion narrowly winning the one game at Brickfields and Moseley sneaking the three at Billesley Common.
Tomorrow will be a big day for Albion centre Bevon Armitage.
Not only will Armitage be competing against his former club but he will also achieve the rare feat of starting all Albion's 28 Championship league and play-off matches.
15 Sione Tuipulotu, 14 James Love, 13 Paul Bailey, 12 Bevon Armitage
11 Tyson Lewis, 10 Paul Roberts, 9 Paul Rowley
1 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 2 Jon Vickers, 3 David Morton, 4 Tyler Hotson
5 Sean-Michael Stephen (capt), 6 Herbie Stupple, 7 Wayne Sprangle, 8 Aaron Carpenter
Steve Johns, Mark Lee, Rob Dugard, Jack Andrew, Gareth Evans
Davy McGregor, Sam Hocking, Addison Lockley.
More News From Albion
Plymouth Albion Head coach Nat Saumi, whose own contribution in keeping the club going in the wake of Graham Dawe's shock sacking and the equally astounding departure of Peter Drewett has been crucial, is hoping his team can go out on a high tomorrow when they play Moseley.
"Although there is nothing on this game, we owe the supporters of Plymouth a good performance," said Saumi.
"We started the season at home and it is good to finish it at home.
Full Story www.thisisplymouth.co.uk
Moseley - After the successful conclusion to the home season last week-end, Moseley complete their Play-off matches tomorrow at Plymouth hoping to top the Group.
There are three changes to the team. Paul Spivey returns at lock, Mike Maltman comes into the back-row in place of the injured Ben Pons, and Jack Adams gets his first start for some time, having recovered fully from an injured hand.
Games between the two clubs have been very close, with home advantage winning the day so far. Moseley hope to change the pattern tomorrow, and with both teams under no pressure a fast open match is expected.
1. Marshall Gadd; 2.Adam Caves; 3. Colin Quigley; 4. David Lyons
5.Paul Spivey; 6.Neil Mason; 7.Michael Maltman; 8. Michael Ellery
9.Ryan De La Harpe; 10.Brad Davies; 11. Brad Hunt; 12.Andy Reay
13. Jack Adams; 14. William Robinson; 15. Ollie Thomas
16. Anthony O'Donnell;17. Lloyd Fairbrother; 18. Richard Stott;
19. Dan Sanderson; 20. Mat Lowcock; 21.Gareth Taylor; 22 Sam Brown.
More From Moseley's Website: You might think that as both sides now have relegation pressures removed that this will be something of a non-event, but the prospect of finishing on top of Pool C and its associated statement of strength will not be lost on either team.
However with Moseley on 23 league points and Plymouth on 19, Plymouth would need to win and score four tries while preventing the visitors from scoring four tries or losing within seven points, to gain the necessary five league points to achieve this. (Moseley's current greater number of wins and superior points difference - 35 compared with 7 - would make just a Plymouth win without a four try bonus seem insufficient).
As ever with games against Plymouth the battle must first be won up front for any chance of victory. Based on previous games between the two sides, given enough ball, the Moseley backs should be able to cause some significant problems to the home side. Playing the game well away from the Moseley line must be the first priority as the big Plymouth ball carriers can score tries from close range. In addition during the playoffs the boot of James Love has been Plymouths most significant weapon, and Moseley must be careful not to give away penalties within kicking range.
One final 80 minutes of concentration and effort from all will be a fitting way to sign off the season. If Moseley can take all those performances that gave us the highs of our roller coaster ride and put them together on the Brickfields pitch then we could yet see the best this team has to offer.
Having made a success of the playoffs the Moseley players will be looking for one final opportunity to underline their abilities to coaches Maggs and West who are now heavily involved in the formulating the squad for 2012/13. Some of them who take to the field on Saturday may be doing so for the last time in a Moseley shirt and we wish them well for their futures