British & Irish Cup News. Previews of all the quarter final games. All the teams plus news and comment.
|Friday 20 January 2012||Sunday 22 January 2012|
Ulster 9-20 Munster
Saturday, 21 January 2012
Cross Keys 32-8 Llanelli
Cornish Pirates 33-3 Nottingham
Leinster 32-0 Pontypridd
Ulster Ravens coach Gary Longwell has named his starting XV and replacements to take on Munster A at Ravenhill tonight.
Longwell has stuck largely with the squad that went through the group stages winning four from four. The only player ruled out through injury is fullback Peter Nelson, the Ravens top try scorer this season.
Nigel Brady, a week after winning his 100th cap for the senior team, will captain the side from hooker and is joined in the front row by Ballynahinch props Jerry Cronin and Paddy McAllister. The latter was yesterday invited to join the Ireland training squad ahead of their 6 Nations campaign despite missing the last few outings with Ulster through injury.
Tim Barker and Neil McComb, who have been central to the Ravens run to the quarter final, will once again combine in the second row. Conor Joyce, Ali Birch and Mike McComish form a mobile back row.
Blane McIlroy gets an opportunity at scrumhalf ahead of Ian Porter, where he is joined at halfback by Paddy Jackson, who has returned from an ankle injury. Luke Marshall is also making his way back from an ankle injury and will line out at centre alongside Chris Farrell. Michael Allen joins Dungannon players Chris Cochrane and Conor Gaston in an energetic back three.
Phoenix Academy forwards Niall Annett, Conor Carey, James Simpson and Iain Henderson are joined on the bench by Belfast Harlequins prop Richard Lutton. Ian Porter and James McKinney provide cover for the backs.
Munster A will have a number of players who played in the group stages unavailable for the quarter final. The increasing injury situation in the senior squad has led to a number of ‘A’ squad members gaining promotion as cover. But Head Coach Ian Costello will see this as an opportunity to expose more Academy and Development players at this level.
Gary Longwell’s side have not played a competitive fixture for over a month but he believes the current good form of the senior team will inspire his squad. He said: “There has been a great buzz in training on the back of some great performances from the seniors in recent weeks.
The win over Leicester in particular, has given the whole of Ulster Rugby a lift. Hopefully we will get a big crowd out at Ravenhill to cheer on the boys. It would be a great start to the weekend if we could get a result on Friday but we are well aware how difficult it will be.”
Longwell continued: “ Munster have a great Academy structure and have an abundance of talent coming through the ranks. As with all Munster teams, we are expecting a very tough game. They will be strong up front and we will need to match them physically if we want to progress further in this competition. But it’s a challenge that the player and coaching staff are all relishing.
“A match like this, in the knockout stages against a team like Munster, will do a great deal for the development of some of our young players. It will also give some of the senior players the chance to put their hand up. We will be looking for them to use their experience by helping the younger players.”
1 Paddy McAllister 2 Nigel Brady (capt) 3 Jerry Cronin 4 Tim Barker
5 Neil McComb 6 Conor Joyce 7 Ali Birch 8 Mike McComish
9 Blane McIlroy 10 Paddy Jackson 11 Chris Cochrane 12 Luke Marshall
13 Chris Farrell 14 Michael Allen 15 Conor Gaston
16 Niall Annett 17 Conor Carey 18 Richard Lutton 19 James Simpson
20 Iain Henderson 21 Ian Porter 22 James McKinney
Munster - Billy Holland who came on as a second half replacement against Castres last Saturday will captain the Munster 'A' side against Ulster Ravens in Ravenhill tonight
Munster defeated Ulster in the penultimate stage in the inaugural season, that game played in Thomond Park Stadium, but they face a Raven's side who are unbeaten so far in this year's competition.
Sean Scanlon; Luke O’Dea, Will Chambers, JJ Hanrahan, Ronan O’Mahony
Scott Deasy, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Sean Henry, Christy Condon
Dave Foley, Ian Nagle; Billy Holland capt, Brian O’Hara, Paddy Butler.
Mike Sherry, John Ryan, Brian Hayes, Shane Buckley
Cathal Sheridan, Declan Cusack, Ivan Dineen.
Cross Keys - Carmarthen Quins gave Cross Keys plenty to think about before the Gwent club host Llanelli tomorrow night.
Keys looked set for their sixth successive Premiership win, but Quins' fly-half Aled Thomas snatched victory with the last kick of the match, a 20-metre penalty in the third minute of stoppage time.
Keys finished with three tries against two, but Aled Thomas was Quins' key figure with 13 points, the two conversions and all his three penalty attempts.
Full Story www.thisissouthwales.co.uk
1 Richard Cornock, 2 Gerwyn Price, 3 Marc Jones, 4 Danny Hodge
5 Tom Lampard, 6 Rhys Peebles, 7 Robert Nash (c), 8 Jevon Groves
9 Rhys Dyer, 10 Steffan Jones, 11 Nathan Trowbridge, 12 Phil Williams
13 Leon Andrews, 14 Kristian Baller, 15 Gareth David
16 Lewis Rawlins 17 Jamie Sollis 18 Craig Gould 19 Marc Popham
20 Luke Williams 21 Sam Mills 22 Owen Jones
Llanelli. This is the second year running that Llanelli have made it through to the last eight of the B&I Cup
Their website says "Its a terrific achievement for the squad given the quality of opposition we’ve already come up against.
Travelling up to “Keys” will always be difficult, they are a well drilled side and will be confident they can turn us over.
The fact they lost to the Quins last Saturday, will, if anything focus their minds even more.
On the other hand, it emphasises the point that they are beatable – if we play to our potential we can come away with the win."
Full Story www.llanellirugby.com
Llanelli could be forced to make last-minute changes to their side. The match has been moved to a 6.30pm kick-off in order to be televised on S4C, but that places it in direct conflict with the Scarlets' Heineken Cup match in Castres.
"We would prefer not to be clashing, but we have to accept the situation," said Anthony Buchanan, Llanelli's head of rugby.
"It's a matter of waiting and seeing how much it will affect our selection.
Full Story www.thisissouthwales.co.uk
15.Dan Evans 14. Lee Williams 13.Nic Reynolds 12.Johnny Lewis
11.Chris Keenan 10.Jordan Williams 9.Justin James
1.Shaun Hopkins 2.Greg George 3. Aled Hopkins 4.Adam Powell (C)
5.Nathan White 6.Craig Price.7.Duane Eager 8. Allan Powell.
16.Simon Gardiner 17.Andrew Pritchard 18.Ed Price
19.Daniel Thomas 20. Morgan Haylock 21. Diggy Bird 22.Bowdy Davies
Cornish Pirates - After a disappointing British & Irish Cup campaign last season, this year Cornish Pirates are keen to lift the trophy they won as inaugural winners in 2010.
The home quarter-final against Nottingham at the Mennaye Field on Sunday promises to be another fascinating encounter, and one as well matched as the Championship contest played out between the two teams at the same venue just two weeks earlier. The Pirates emerged narrow 26-24 victors on that occasion, and it will surely be close again this weekend.
The Cornish Pirates back line is a mixture of experience and youth, and certainly no lack of ability.
A new centre partnership combines 20 year old Andy Short, who joined the Pirates this week on loan from Worcester Warriors, and Sam Hill.
Aged just 20 and 18 respectively, they will be playing outside of 19 year old fly-half Aaron Penberthy, to likely form as youthful a midfield as the Pirates have ever put out.
A gifted young Cornishman, Aaron was a try-scorer when making his first Championship start for the Cornish Pirates in the away win at Esher last weekend.
R. Cook, R. McAtee, A. Short, S. Hill, D. Doherty
A. Penberthy, G. Cattle (capt), B. Maidment, C. Morgan, D. Ewers
I. Nimmo, L. McGlone, R. Brits, T. Cowan-Dickie, C. Rimmer.
L. Fairbrother, D. Ward, M. Myerscough, K. Marriott, J. Doherty, T. Cooper, M. Evans.
Referee Ian Davies (WRU) Porthcawl
AR1 Paul Kimber Hampshire
AR2 Brian Ravenhill Gloucestershire
NO 4 Andy Bickle Devon
Match Observer John Haggart Leicestershire
Nottingham Rugby - Glenn Delaney is looking to turn the disappointment of last Sunday's postponement into a positive when Nottingham play Pirates on Sunday.
This will be the second time in two weeks that the Green and Whites will have travelled to the Mennaye but, this time, it will be for a British and Irish Cup quarter-final match.
Nottingham, playing with 13 men for a good deal of the second half in their Championship game on January 8, lost by only two points and Delaney is hopeful of returning home with a different result this time.
"We are nice and refreshed and ready for the weekend," said the club's director of rugby,
"We've done some planning and there will be guys missing this week who are on a different programme and some will play in the B&I Cup."
Full Story www.thisisnottingham.co.uk
The Green and Whites qualified for the knock out stages with a 100% record after four matches, narrowly missing out on top spot in their group on points difference.
That second place meant a tough away trip to the Pirates who also qualified with a perfect record and who narrowly defeated Nottingham in the Championship two weeks ago.
Both previous matches between the sides this season have been close encounters. The Pirates secured a comeback draw at Meadow Lane, while they only secured victory a fortnight ago with a penalty in the closing stages to edge it by two points.
Nottingham’s Director of Rugby, Glenn Delaney said, “We have had two very good matches against the Pirates already this season. In both matches we were ahead for long periods but have succumbed to late points which have cost us victory.
“Now we’re in the knockout stages anything can happen and we’re hoping to go as far as possible. We know this will be another tough match, but we’re excited by the challenge and we’ll go into the match backing ourselves to do what’s required to win.”
The Green and Whites have made a number of changes ahead of the match, keeping with their policy of giving young players the chance to shine in the Cup.
An almost completely different set of forwards line up, with Filipo Levi the only surviving player from the league match two weeks ago.
Finlay Barnham comes in at scrum half to continue as Cup captain and Kieran Hallett returns to the starting XV at stand-off.
The back line remains strong, with the only changes seeing Mike Penn in on the wing and Joe Munro in at centre for Juan Socino.
New signing Matt Holloway begins on the bench.
Raphael Olive, Ollie Taylor, Matt Shields, Mitchell Todd, Lee Morley
Rupert Cooper, Tom Calladine, Filipo Levi
Finlay Barnham (c), Kieran Hallett, Mike Penn, Joe Munro
Tim Streather, Jack Cobden, Andrew Savage
Matt Holloway, Michael Holford, Phil Eggleshaw, Jonny Baird
Nathan Jones, Nick Greenhalgh, James Stokes
In Other news
Nottingham Rugby’s Jack Bradford has been called up to the Scotland Under 20 squad ahead of their forthcoming Six Nations campaign.
The former Worksop College pupil and Newark RFC player has been training full time with Nottingham’s Championship squad during the current campaign, having worked his way up to become another product of the club’s academy.
Bradford has already represented Scotland at Under 16 and Under 18 level and his latest call up represents the continuation of his impressive progression through the development structure.
Jack said, “I’m very honoured to have been called up for the Under 20 squad for the Six Nations as I’m always very proud to represent my country. The coaching and support I have received from Nottingham since I joined the academy has been amazing and has played a huge part in me being able to play internationally.
Full Story www.nottinghamrugby.co.uk
Leinster - In their last match in the pool stages Leinster drew 24-24 with London Welsh at Donnybrook.
Welsh came back from an 18-0 half time deficit to draw the tie and deny Leinster 4 out of 4 wins, but it was enough for Leinster to top Pool 3 and take 3rd place overall.
In their other pool games, Leinster won 13-19 away to Llanelli, 42-40 at home to Melrose and 18-32 away to Esher.
Leinster Team News - With Andrew Conway ruled out through a minor knock, Andrew Boyle starts on the left wing and is included in a back three with Darren Hudson with the full-back vacancy set to be confirmed before kick off.
Ciaran Ruddock leads the team for the knockout encounter and he is included in the back-row alongside Jordi Murphy and Leo Auva’a, with Jack McGrath joining Aaron Dundon and Nathan White in the front row.
15: AN Other 14: Darren Hudson 13: Brendan Macken 12: Colm O’Shea
11: Andrew Boyle 10: Noel Reid 9: John Cooney
1: Jack McGrath 2: Aaron Dundon 3: Nathan White 4: Neilus Keogh
5: Mark Flanagan 6: Ciaran Ruddock (Cap),7: Jordi Murphy 8: Leo Auva’a
16: Tom Sexton 17: Jack O’Connell 18: Jack Conan 19: Conor Gilsenan
20: Luke McGrath 21: Cathal Marsh 22: Barry Daly
Pontypridd - Conceding home advantage as one of the qualifying pool leaders with the least points accumulated, Ponty no doubt face a daunting task against the powerful Irish province.
They also go into the tie on the back of a disappointing away defeat to Bridgend in the Welsh Premiership the previous Saturday. The tag of underdog is securely attached to Pontypridd in this winner takes all encounter, but that will suit the mindset of the Valley Commandos admirably.
A week of training where psychology has been as important as skills or fitness, has progressed well for Pontypridd.
Their hopes have also been boosted by a quick return to fitness of outside half Simon Humberstone and prop Ryan Harford, both having undergone scans which dispelled the fears of a broken nose and thumb respectively.
Also making a welcome comeback from injury are Blues Academy lock Cory Hill and prop Pat Palmer, both going straight into the starting line up.
Drafted into the back line are promising young full back Harley Thomson and winger Lewis Williams. Chris Phillips takes over the loose head prop berth with Stuart Williams out injured and Ken Knaggs serving a suspension.
15.Harley Thomson. 14.Lewis I Williams. 13.Gavin Dacey. 12.Dafydd Lockyer
11.Matthew Nuthall. 10.Simon Humberstone. 9.Rhys Downes.
1.Chris Phillips. 2.Huw Dowden. 3.Pat Palmer. 4.Cory Hill. 5.Ryan Savage.
6.Chris Dicomidis (cpt). 7.Wayne O’Connor. 8.Dan Godfrey.
Garyn Lucas; Gareth Wyatt; Gary Williams; Rhys Williams
Tom Hetherington; Jake Thomas; Ryan Harford.
Owen Williams; James Howe.