Round 1 Teams & Previews
Plus news and comment from around the clubs and what the papers say.
Friday 31 August 2012
Nottingham v Leeds Carnegie 19:45
Saturday 1 September 2012
Bedford v Moseley 15:00
Jersey v Cornish Pirates 15:00
Plymouth Albion v Doncaster 15:00
Sunday 2 September 2012
Bristol v Newcastle 15:00
London Scottish v Rotherham Titans 14:00
Nottingham head coach Martin Haag will field a mix of youth and experience in his first competitive game in charge of the Green and Whites tonight.
Joe Munro, the 21-year-old who has grown in confidence throughout pre-season and impressed in both recent friendlies against London Irish and Leicester Tigers, joins experienced campaigner Tim Streather at centre against Leeds Carnegie at Meadow Lane Stadium.
Rhys Crane, who endured a nightmare first campaign with Nottingham due to injury and only featured three times, will be let loose on the wing with Mansfield teenager Ryan Hough earning his first RFU Championship start.
The dual registered pairing of Jimmy Stevens, hooker, and Ryan Bower, prop, have also been named as replacements for the match branded as The Big Kick-Off.
Versatile Aussie Dan Montagu will slot in at lock on his return to Meadow Lane after spending the past three seasons at Championship rivals Bristol.
While there will be fresh faces across the park, the pack will be led by the seasoned combination of loosehead Matt Parr, hooker Joe Duffey and tighthead Michael Holford.
With the side being directed around the ground by the halves pairing of Sean Romans and James Arlidge, a partnership that grew in stature with every game last season, coach Haag is excited by his sides opening night prospects at home.
"It has been along pre-season, marked by significant change from the top down, and finally the Big Kick-Off is here," Haag said.
"From the very first day that I arrived at the club I've been impressed with the attitude and talent here, from the most senior of players to the youngsters that are pushing hard for their spot in the starting XV.
"Our captain Brent Wilson won't have any shortage of support and voices out there with Nic Rouse, Sean Romans and James Arlidge all taking a strong lead during pre-season and will be vital in helping set a bench mark for all to follow.
"I'm really pleased to name the young guys like Ryan Hough and Joe Munro because they have earned their starting spots with the way they have performed for the past three months."
Full Preview www.nottinghamrugby.co.uk
Meanwhile, Leeds Carnegie Head Coach Diccon Edwards will give debuts to six players at Nottingham tonight
For winger David Doherty it will be a second debut for his home town club having first played for Leeds back in 2004 as a teenager.
He is joined by his namesake James Doherty, no relation, in the backline, after both moved from Cornish Pirates in the summer whilst Fred Burdon is at inside centre following his signing from Doncaster.
The other three debutants are in the pack with loan signing from Sale Lee Imiolek joined by Ben Hooper from Rotherham. Finally, Calum Green, who joined from Leicester, is one of three players who have previously played at Nottingham in their career with Dan Hemingway and new Leeds skipper Jacob Rowan all on familiar ground at Meadow Lane.
On the bench, there are even more new faces with five of the seven replacements all new recruits. Hooker Joe Graham only signed this week on loan from Newcastle for the season whilst prop Ben Harris has made the move up from Rotherham.
Fellow prop Damien Tussac came from a little further afield having signed from Toulon whilst former Cornish Pirate Mike Myerscough will be looking to make an impact off the bench. Finally, Rugby League convert Jamel Chisholm, who twice won the prize as the Fastest Man in Rugby League, is also on the bench.
1 Matt Parr 2 Joe Duffey 3 Michael Holford 4 Dan Montagu 5 Nic Rouse
6 Rupert Cooper 7 Brent Wilson 8 Alex Shaw
9 Sean Romans 10 James Arlidge 11 Rhys Crane 12 Joe Munro
13 Tim Streather 14 Ryan Hough 15 Andrew Savage.
16 Jimmy Stevens 17 Ryan Bower 18 Joe Quinn 19 Tom Calladine
20 Finlay Barnham 21 Rory Lynn 22 Joe Cobden.
15. Stevie McColl, 14. Curtis Wilson, 13. Pete Lucock, 12. Fred Burdon
11. David Doherty, 10. Joe Ford, 9. James Doherty
1. Lee Imiolek, 2. Phil Nilsen, 3. Ben Hooper, 4. Calum Green
5. Dan Hemingway, 6. Richard Beck, 7. Jacob Rowan (c), 8. Ryan Burrows
16. Joe Graham, 17. Ben Harris, 18. Damien Tussac, 19. Mike Myerscough
20. Dominic Barrow, 21. Craig Hampson, 22. Jamel Chisholm
Other News From Nottingham
New Nottingham recruit Joe Quinn will start his RFU Championship career against the club that nurtured him.
The 21-year-old lock, a product of Leeds Carnegie’s Academy, has penned a one-year contract with Nottingham after impressing throughout pre-season and in recent hit-outs against London Irish and Leicester Tigers.
The former junior England international, and decorated Yorkshire representative, has spent the past two seasons in the lower leagues after hamstring and shoulder injuries curtailed his opportunities with Leeds.
Full Story www.nottinghamrugby.co.uk
Other News From Leeds
Leeds Carnegie have signed Newcastle Falcons hooker Joe Graham, 25, on a season long loan after Scott Freer, 24, has gone on trial to Aviva Premiership side Northampton Saints.
Freer has a year remaining on his contract with Leeds Carnegie however he was given permission to speak to Northampton after the club enquired about his availability.
Full Story www.leedscarnegie.com
The Championship kicks off for Bedford with the visit of Moseley to Goldington Road.
Following a pre-season campaign that saw defeats to Pau and Saracens before convincing victories over Cardiff and Cambridge, the Blues are raring to go and looking forward to the coming campaign which starts with a tough challenge against Midland rivals.
Bedford will be without the Player’s Player of 2011/12 Chris Locke who is ruled out for a month after tearing his Medial Patellofemoral Ligament (MPFL) during the friendly with Cambridge last week.
Paul Tupai has recovered well from an operation in the summer but just misses out as does Tom Armes and Mark Atkinson who were both carrying minor knocks.
Speaking ahead of the season curtain-raiser, Blues Team Manager Rob Crowle said: “I think that everyone is really excited about this Saturday. We’ve had a tough pre-season but everyone has put in a lot of hard work but it will count for nothing if we don’t transfer that onto the pitch come 3pm.
“Moseley have recruited extremely well during the summer and we know that we are in for a really tough game this weekend. Moseley have some really impressive forwards but having watched them face Northampton last weekend, we also know that they like to run with the ball in hand. All in all it should make for a cracking start to the season.”
New signings James Stephenson and Ben Gulliver get starting debuts while Joe Vandermolen, who signed a short term deal this week after impressing during a summer trial, takes a place on the bench.
Moseley line up with a much-changed side from that which ended last term in ninth position.
Coach Kevin Maggs selects eight new faces to start and the bench includes a further six debutants.
Goldington Road has been an exacting venue for Moseley in recent seasons, but Maggs is characteristically optimistic.
“In the last two warm-up matches we tackled well and showed that we can break down stubborn defences”, he said. “Bedford are a formidable team on their own pitch but I know we are ready for this match and am confident that we will show that we have stepped up a gear since last year”.
15. James Pritchard (c), 14. James Stephenson, 13. Brendan Burke, 12. Henry Staff
11. Josh Bassett, 10. Jake Sharp, 9. Luke Baldwin
1. Dan Seal, 2. Neil Cochrane, 3. Phil Boulton, 4. Ben Gulliver, 5. Alex Rae.
6. Gregor Gillanders, 7. Sacha Harding, 8. Don Barrell
16. Scott Spurling, 17. Ben Cooper, 18. Mike Howard, 19. Joe Vandermolen
20. Darryl Veenendaal, 21. Ian Vass, 22. Ben Ransom
1. Ethan Waller; 2.Adam Caves; 3. Craig Voisey; 4.Addison Lockley
5 Liam Mather; 6.Neil Mason; 7.Ben Pons; 8.Ben Pienaar;
9. Sam Brown; 10.Glynn Hughes; 11. Anders Mogenson; 12.Charlie Hayter
13 Anthony Carter; 14.Simon Hunt; 15. OllieThomas
16.Sam Wilkes;17.Matt Lowcock; 18.Chas Meddick; 19.Oliver Robinson;
20.Alex Day; 21. Brad Davies; 22.Caolan Ryan
Other News From Bedford
Bedford Blues Director of Rugby Mike Rayer has been named as the Championship coach who will help pick and train the team to face the Maori All Blacks when they face off at Doncaster’s Castle Park on Saturday November 17.
Moseley's Website Preview www.moseleyrugby.co.uk
What The Papers Say
Bedford Today www.bedfordtoday.co.uk
With the new Championship season just days away, Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer is hoping his side can get off to the perfect start against Moseley on Saturday.
Birmingahm Evening Post www.birminghampost.net
Mike Powell plays key role in Kevin Maggs's Moseley revolution
Jersey Director of Rugby Ben Harvey, has named his side for the opening RFU Championship match against Cornish Pirates.
Led by Nathan Hannay, the starting XV includes four new faces: Richard Barrington and Steve Boden in the front row, lock Rob Anderson and wing (and former Pirate) Tom Cooper.
Also in the team is Tongan forward Talite Vaoileti, a former Jersey captain who was re-signed in the summer from Rotherham Titans and will wear the number six shirt.
Jersey’s bench includes another new signing, prop Sean McCarthy, who will be hoping to make his debut for the Islanders.
Jersey are defending a formidable home record at St Peter, having lost just one league game in the past three seasons, but know that maintaining the ground’s Fortress reputation will be a challenge following the rise to Championship level, especially against last season’s beaten finalists.
The Pirates make a return visit to Jersey on Saturday, for the first time since 1975, when they won 15-7.
Times have changed, since playing on tour, to the RFU Championship and a contest of significantly more importance.
Jersey's head coach, Ben Harvey, is the son of former Pirate Brett, and two other former Pirates: scrum-half Nicky Griffiths and centre Tom Cooper, are squad members.
For the Pirates the aim is simple - go all out to secure a win and kick start the 2012-13 campaign.
The Cornish Pirates, led again by scrum-half Gavin Cattle, include seven new signings in the starting line-up.
Ben Prescott is named at tight-head prop, and Darren Barry and Gary Johnson form the second-row partnership.
In the backs, Kieran Hallett is selected at fly-half, Junior Fatialofa and Tom Riley are the centre pairing, and Tom Bedford is named on the wing.
Hooker Darren Semmens, lock David Lyons and centre Alex Cheesman are new faces on the bench.
"Jersey will be one of the strongest promoted teams into the Championship. said: head coach Ian Daviesahead of tomorrow’s game."
"Knowing Ben Harvey they will be very well coached and by all accounts a large crowd will be in attendance for their first home match. "
"Ideally we would not have played them first up as we have not been able to source a great deal of 'intel' on them so it is a bit of a journey into the unknown"
15 Glenn Bryce, 14 Tom Cooper, 13 David Bishop, 12 Donovan Sanders
11 Edward Dawson, 10 Ross Broadfoot, 9 Nicky Griffiths
1 Richard Barrington, 2 Steven Boden, 3 Ben Evans, 4 Nathan Hannay (Capt)
5 Robert Anderson,6 Talite Vaioleti, 7 Guy Thompson, 8 Nicholas Trower
16 David Felton, 17 Sean McCarthy, 18 David Markham, 19 Eoghan Nihill
20 Brendan O'Brien, 21 Michael Le Bourgeois, 22 James Copsey
G. Pointer, T. Bedford, T. Riley, J. Fatialofa, M. Evans
K. Hallett, G. Cattle (capt), B. Maidment, P. Burgess, K. Marriott
G. Johnson, D. Barry, B. Prescott, R. Elloway, P. Andrew.
R. Storer, D. Semmens, A. Paver, D. Lyons, T. Kessell, A. Penberthy, A. Cheesman.
What The Papers Say
Western Morning News www.thisiscornwall.co.uk
Cornish Pirates travel in strength for season opener in Jersey
BBC Sport www.bbc.co.uk/sport
Jersey are braced for their first ever appearance in the Championship on Saturday when they host last season's play-off finalists Cornish Pirates at St Peter
Albion are out to impress their home supporters and start the season off with a bang!
Director of Rugby, Nat Saumi will give full league debuts to four new signings when they face Doncaster at Brickfields tomorrow
They are ex Cornish Pirates winger Rhodri McAtee, wing Tom Bowen, new International signing lock Brett Beukeboom and Plymouth-born prop Lloyd Fairbrother.
Rupeni Nasiga , Fijian International who only joined Albion last week is on the bench.
Doncaster D.O.R, Brett Davey has also named seven debutants for Doncaster Knights first Championship match .
The Director of Rugby has selected a very strong side on paper led by the recently appointed skipper Matt Challinor .“It’s really exciting to get under way this Saturday, we’ve worked hard in pre-season and identified the problem areas that need putting right, but we are quietly confident and looking forward to the Championship season.
“We need to target our ruck defence which hasn’t been up to scratch so far and being one of Plymouth’s strengths we will need to address it from the first breakdown. We know they’ll be tough to beat with a good pack and tight defence, but we are up for the battle.”
New recruits Rhys Buckley, Brian McGovern, Royce Cadman, Jethro Rawling, Sam Pailor, Dante Mama and James Tincknell will all have a massive hand to play in Saturday’s match as they continue to bond as a unit improving in each of the pre-season matches.
The returning outside-half Jamie Lennard has only missed one kick from the tee, clattering the post against Cambridge, but his new leader believes he is the vital component that was missing last year.
“Jamie’s goal kicking record speaks for itself, but he offers much more than just kicking from the tee, he gives us guidance and places us in the right areas of the pitch,
which was missing last year.
“Personally I am looking for a better performance because I don’t think I’ve done enough in the friendly matches. I’m comfortable at flanker, but need to prove my worth in that jersey to earn the respect of the new lads and lead from the front, but I’m sure league rugby will bring the best out of me again.”
The Knights know how tough a trip to Devon can be, last year losing out 18-6 thanks to two Tyson Lewis tries, but confidence is high in the camp and they will be searching for a win on their first outing to register points on the board.
1. Dave Morton, 2. Jon Vickers, 3. Lloyd Fairbrother, 4. Sean Michael-Stephen, 5. Brett Beukeboom
6. Herbie Stupple, 7. Sam Hocking, 8. Aaron Carpenter
9. Paul Rowley, 10. Paul Roberts, 11. Tom Bowen, 12. Bevon Armitage
13. Paul Bailey, 14. Rhodri McAtee, 15. Henry Slade
16. Ruairi Cushion, 17. Jack Arnott, 18. Lewis Warner, 19. Jack Andrew
20. Jamie Salter, 21. Harrison Tovey, 22. Rupeni Nasiga
15 Michael Keating, 14 Dougie Flockhart, 13 James Tincknell, 12 Tom Luke
11 Dante Mama, 10 Jamie Lennard, 9 Chris Hallam
1 Tom Davies, 2 Rhys Buckley, 3 Brian McGovern, 4 Royce Cadman, 5 Dominic Parsons
6 Matt Challinor ©, 7 Jethro Rawling, 8 Sam Pailor
16 Jerry Cronin, 17 Ben Sowery, 18 Phil Hoy, 19 Andy Boyde
20 Adam Kettle, 21 Louis Silver, 22 Will Simpson
What The Papers Say
Western Morning News www.thisisdevon.co.uk
Saumi hands youth the chance to impress against Doncaster
The Star http://www.thestar.co.uk/sport
Doncaster Knights go into Saturday’s opening Championship game of the 2012-13 season at Plymouth Albion ready to do battle, according to fitness and conditioning coach Dougie Flockhart.
The Star www.thestar.co.uk/sport
Doncaster Knights go into batttle against Plymouth Albion at Brickfields tomorrow, confident of bringing the spoils back to Castle Park.
Liam Middleton puts faith in his young guns ahead of the RFU Championship opener with Newcastle Falcons on Sunday .
Academy duo Jack Gadd and Ryan Edwards are rewarded for their fine pre-season performances with starting berths in the backline, while Marco Mama is named at No 8.
Already missing a number of key players, the Head Coach is without summer signing Adrian Jarvis, who is suffering from sickness.
Jack Tovey, George Watkins, Bryan Rennie, Jason Hobson and Matt Williams are all sidelined with injury, while Fautua Otto, Gaston Cortes and Alafoti Faosiliva are yet to arrive in the UK.
Mike Tagicakibau, James Grindal and Kyle Traynor are set for their full competitive debuts against Dean Richards’ side.
Announced as Club Captain for the third successive season, Iain Grieve will lead out Bristol Rugby at the Memorial Stadium.
Middleton names a strong replacements bench, with new recruits Bruce Douglas and David McIlwaine included in the 22-man squad.
Newcastle Falcons have named their side for this opener at Bristol as the northeasterners gear up for a new era under the stewardship of Dean Richards
The Falcons have made five changes to the side that narrowly lost 24-20 at Ulster last week, with Taiasina Tu’ifua, Chris Pilgrim, Ryan Shortland, Alex Crockett and Andrew Higgins all coming into the starting XV.
Pilgrim will pull on the No.9 jersey while Crockett starts at outside centre partnering Tane Tu’ipulotu at the heart of the backline. Andrew Higgins and Ryan Shortland feature on either wing, adding fire-power to a potent back division.
Tu’ifua’s pick at back-row is the solitary change in the pack which includes the experienced heads of Jonny Golding, James Hudson, Ally Hogg and Rob Vickers.
“As we are the side that has come down we will be everyone’s cup final and we are under no illusions that everybody will be trying to beat us,” said Richards ahead of the new season.
He added: “As I found with Quins there is absolutely no given in the Championship, you have to fight for everything.
“The players will be going to places they won’t have played at before and they will experience changing facilities they won’t have experienced before as well as coming across crowds that will be a lot closer to the field.
“It will be a different challenge for them to get accustomed to that type of environment but we will have fun and learn.
“We will be aiming to finish top but every game will be very, very difficult for us starting with Bristol this weekend.”
Jon Goodridge; Mike Tagicakibau, Jack Gadd, Luke Eves, Ryan Edwards
Tristan Roberts, James Grindal; Kyle Traynor, Ross Johnston, Wayne Thompson
Mariano Sambucetti, Glen Townson, Iain Grieve (c), Redford Pennycook, Marco Mama.
Rhys Lawrence, Bruce Douglas, Ben Glynn, James Merriman, Ruki Tipuna
Matthew Jones, David McIlwaine.
15 Luke Fielden, 14 Andrew Higgins, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu
11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Chris Pilgrim
1 Jonny Golding, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Sean Tomes, 5 James Hudson,
6 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Taiasina Tu’ifua
16 Matt Thompson, 17 James Hall, 18 Scott MacLeod, 19 Richard Mayhew, 20 Rory Lawson, 21 James Fitzpatrick, 22 Waisea Luveniyali
What The Papers Say
Bristol Evening Post www.thisisbristol.co.uk
Liam Middleton believes his Bristol side are battling for one of three play-off spots this season, with the head coach certain that Sunday's opponents Newcastle have a top-four spot wrapped up.
Bristol Evening Post www.thisisbristol.co.uk
Newcastle will find it tougher than they think, says Bristol Rugby's Glen Townson
The Journal www.journallive.co.uk
Rob Vickers believes Newcastle Falcons’ last visit to Bristol can work in their favour as they prepare for Sunday’s Championship kick-off at the Memorial Stadium.
Despite this match being a repeat of the opening fixture for the 2011/12 season, there will be many new faces on the pitch for both sides.
After two wins from their three pre-season games, including a 29-14 win over rivals Richmond FC, London Scottish head into this game full of confidence. However, they will not be underestimating the challenge Rotherham will pose.
Director of Rugby Simon Amor: “We know we need to step up our performance a few notches against what is a very good Rotherham side. We have a huge amount of respect for them and their coach Andre Bester and they’ve had a fantastic pre-season.
If we are to beat them, we must match them for intensity, physicality and work ethic.”
For the Titans as for Scotiish, it’s Déjà vu, as once again their opening fixture takes them to London Scottish.
Last time around Titans collected a losing bonus point in their narrow 16-11 opening-day defeat, but they will be hoping to go one step better this weekend.
Titans Head Coach Andre Bester has not been able to select from a full squad as a number of players are currently injured. Garry Law (ankle) and Laurence Pearce (Knee) are expected to be out for 2 weeks; Fergus Mulchrone (foot) is out for 3 weeks, whilst Shane Cahill (ankle) is anticipated to be out for around 4 weeks.
Of the starting 15 there are 5 players making their Titans debut. Winger Eamonn Sheridan (Leinster) and fly half James McKinney (Ulster) start in the backline, whilst tight head prop Ross Davies (Ampthill), blind side flanker Toby Freeman (Ampo Ordizia) and number 8 Alex Rieder (Leeds Carnegie) debut in the pack.
Returning to the club for a second stint under Andre Bester is experienced duo Mike Whitehead and Lee Blackett, both of whom start in the backline. Blackett deputises as Skipper in the absence of the injured Garry Law.
A quick glance at the Bookmakers odds sees the Titans as joint no-hopers at 150/1 to win the RFU Championship, alongside Moseley and Plymouth Albion. This underdog tag is something Andre Bester is not only used to, but relishes, as he goes about his business of gelling a Titans side together.
Commenting on the bookies odds Bester remarked, “They always have us as no-hopers, we are used to people writing us off and we relish the opportunity of proving people wrong. We are very comfortable with the underdog tag. I believe in this group of players strongly and we know what we are capable of achieving.
“We know it is going to be very tough down at London Scottish, they beat us twice last season and they will fancy turning us over once again. They will threaten us from all over the paddock and no quarter will be given. However, if we perform to our abilities and get our processes right, we should be in good shape.”
15 Jim Thompson, 14 James Love, 13 Dave McCall, 12 PJ Gidlow
11 Miles Mantella, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Ross Samson
1 Mark Irish, 2 Adam Kwasnicki, 3 Aaron Liffchak, 4 Tyler Hotson
5 Paul Spivey, 6 Joe Trayfoot, 7 Chevvy Pennycook, 8 Mark Bright
16 Nick Auterac, 17 Marcus Bloomberg, 18 Alex MacKenzie, 19 Josh Thomas Brown
20 Ben Lonergan, 21 Richard Bolt, 22 Oli Grove
15 Mike Whitehead, 14 Eamonn Sheridan, 13 Lee Blackett (Capt.), 12 Pale Nonu
11 Peter Homan, 10 James McKinney, 9 Jimmy Williams
1 Jamie Kilbane, 2 Dan Baines, 3 Ross Davies, 4 Barney Maddison, 5 Neale Patrick
6 Toby Freeman, 7 Carl Kirwan, 8 Alex Rieder.
16 Ted Stagg, 17 Marshall Gadd, 18 Gareth Denman or Latu Makaafi, 19 Dan Sanderson
20 Rory Pitman, 21 Joel Gill, 22 Charlie Mulchrone or Mike Doneghan.
What The Papers Say
Richmond and Twickenham Times www.richmondandtwickenhamtimes.co.uk
London Scottish's big kick off in the Championship will pit a summer signing against his old club.
Winger Dave McCall said: “I left Rotherham on a good note and I still keep in touch with a few of the guys there. There are certainly no hard feelings there".
Rotherham Advertiser www.rotherhamadvertiser.co.uk
Titans prepare for their Championship opener this weekend with coach Andre Bester stating: "We will make the promotion play-offs. I am not saying we are aiming for the top four. We will be in the top four."