RFU Championship News

Friday 2nd

2nd December 2011


RFU Championship News Friday 2nd December 2011

RFU Championship News. Previews of all the Round 13 games. All the teams plus news and comment

Friday 2 December 2011 Saturday 3 December 2011
Esher v Nottingham 19:45

Sunday 4 December 2011
Bristol v Leeds Carnegie 15:00
Cornish Pirates v London Scottish 14:00
London Welsh v Bedford 12:30
Moseley v Doncaster 15:00
Rotherham Titans v Plymouth Albion 14:00

RFU Preview


RFU Preview

Round 13 of the Championship promises to be close across the board if the corresponding fixtures between the sides back in September are an accurate form guide.

Four games resulted in losing bonus points being awarded, with the Leeds v Bristol and London Scottish v Cornish Pirates ties going right down to the wire, and the biggest winning margin was just nine points.

The memory of Joe Ford’s last- minute, match- winning drop goal for Leeds will no doubt still rankle amongst Bristol supporters and players alike, but revenge can be theirs at the Memorial Stadium on Sunday.

Meanwhile, London Scottish were a minute away from beating the Pirates in their first meeting, Blair Cowan’s last- gasp try rescuing the points for Chris Stirling's men, who have only won once in their last four games.

London Welsh and Bedford renew old rivalries at Old Deer Park on Saturday in a game that is too tight to call. No more than four points has separated the sides in each of the last three league meetings, the Blues winning 22-18 earlier this term.

Plymouth arrive at ‘fortress’ Clifton Lane looking for only their third away win of the year - and their first this season. Surprisingly, they won at Rotherham on New Year’s Day - one of only two sides to win there in 2011.

Saturday’s other game sees Moseley take on Doncaster, while the weekend kicks off on Friday night with Esher looking to avoid an eighth straight defeat against buoyant Nottingham.

Friday 2 December 2011

Esher v Nottingham 19:45



ESHER have signed Fijian legend Nicky Little to kick-start their bid for Championship survival.

The 35-year-old fly-half, who has won 71 caps for his country, has joined the struggling Surrey side on a short-term deal.

Director of Rugby Mike Schmid has been searching for quality cover at No 10 with club skipper Dave Slemen still sidelined with a long-term back injury.

Now Schmid hopes Little, who has 670 points in a Test career spanning 15 years, can bring leadership to an Esher side propping up the Championship after 12 straight defeats.

Schmid said: “Nicky is a very experienced player and has played a high level of rugby throughout his career so will bring us the leadership quality we have been lacking.

“He has been working hard since he got back from the World Cup and we are delighted to have got him because we have been missing some of the character guys this season through injuries.

“He is a good distributor, a good goalkicker, is not afraid to carry the ball and he can also tackle.

“With Dave Slemen out for at least another six to eight weeks, we desperately needed another fly-half.

“Nicky played for Bristol last year and then went off to the World Cup with the expectation that there would be a club for him when he came back but nothing materialised.

“He is 35 now so is starting to consider life after rugby and he has one or two things in the pipeline and we hope we can help him develop other skills outside the game.”

Esher completed the signing shortly before last Saturday’s trip to Bedford and the former Sale, Saracens, Bath and Bristol star was thrown straight into the action.

Little could not prevent a 43-13 defeat at second-placed Bedford but Schmid was pleased with the Fijian fly-half, who will line up against Nottingham at Molesey Road on Friday.

He said: “He obviously didn’t have much time to prepare so we chucked him in at the deep end but he looked good. He is lacking match sharpness and that’s why we gave him the whole 80 minutes.”

Bedford had notched up a four-try bonus point before half-time and Schmid insists Esher must eliminate the individual mistakes if they are to challenge Nottingham.

He said: “We caused Bedford a lot of problems in the second half but we keeping on making individual mistakes and good sides punish you at this level.

“We have got to be sharper against Nottingham and make sure we work as hard as we can if we are to get anything out of the game.”

Esher were unlucky to go down 29-20 at Meadow Lane in September but Nottingham have started to gear up for a promotion challenge with the signing of New Zealanders Dean Romans and Brent Wilson plus Samoan Filipo Levi this month

The Midlanders have climbed to seventh place and last week inflicted a 62-20 eight-try defeat on Moseley.

Schmid added: “Their new signings show that the feel they can have a real crack at getting into the Premiership this season so we know it’s going to be tough. But the Leeds performance showed we can compete against these teams.”

Esher are boosted by the return of loosehead Dave Millard against Nottingham after two second-team outings following injury.

Esher also hope to have centre Tom Cheeseman, lock Ian Kench and props Ricky Nebbett and Will Collier back in the next fortnight.




Nottingham Rugby head to Molesey Road on Friday night for another stern test of their Championship mettle against Esher.

The Green and Whites put in one of their best performances of the season in their previous game, a resounding 62-20, bonus point victory against Moseley.

The result continued Nottingham’s impressive run of home form this season and sees them remain close to all of the teams above them in what is proving to be a very competitive league campaign.

Nottingham’s results on the road this season have seen a number of narrow defeats despite some very good performances, so they will be looking to pick up vital points this week.

Director of Rugby Glenn Delaney said: “It was a good result against Moseley in our last game. We created a lot of opportunities and we were clinical with our finishing. It was good to see that the try scoring was shared out amongst the players, with eight different players touching down

“There were elements that we weren’t as happy with and we have been working hard in training this week to rectify those areas.”

Esher had a tough match away to Bedford last time out, but in their last home game, they came within five points of upsetting Leeds Carnegie who are one of the form teams in the league at the moment

Delaney continued, “We don’t look at the league position when we’re preparing to face opponents. We know from the performances we’ve seen this season and from some of their recent results that Esher will be a tough team to beat. They are strong at home and we will need to be at our very best to get the result we would like.”

Nottingham name a relatively unchanged line-up for the match as the consistency of selection continues to reap rewards. A Nottingham debut is handed to new signing Rhys Crane on the wing while Kieran Hallett continues his return from injury with a place on the bench


The Nottingham Post reports that Delaney is refusing to underestimate the threat posed by strugglers Esher.

"We know from the performances we've seen this season and from some of their results that Esher will be tough to beat."

One new face in the Nottingham squad tonight will be winger Rhys Crane, the fourth new signing in the past month. Crane has played for Sale Sharks, Bath Rugby, UWIC and Dudley Kingswinford and a 12 month stint in Brisbane, playing for Brothers.

A serious knee injury last year saw him sidelined for 19 months, but he is back to full fitness after focusing on his rehabilitation with Nottingham.

Delaney added: "Rhys has played some high-level rugby; he's back now and fit so we want to get him back on the pitch.

Full Story www.thisisnottingham.co.uk

15 Charlie Walker 14 Geoff Griffiths 13 Phil Mackenzie 12 Mark Atkinson 11 Tom Loizides
10 Nicky Little 9 Jamie Mackenzie
1 Dave Millard 2 Stuart Mackie 3 James Gethings 4 Paul Barker 5 Perry Parker
6 Mike Macfarlane 7 Peter Synnott 8 Chris Goodman

16 James Campbell 17 Ollie Mines 18 Sam Stitcher 19 Mike Blakeburn
20 Arran Cruickshanks 21 Andy Wright 22 Andy Garner

Matt Parr, Joe Duffey, Michael Holford, Craig Hammond (c), Nic Rouse
Brent Wilson, Sione Kalamafoni, Alex Shaw, Nathan Jones, James Arlidge
Mike Penn, Juan Socino, Ayoola Erinle, Rhys Crane, Andrew Savage

Ben Prescott, Ollie Taylor, Lee Morley, Phil Eggleshaw
Finlay Barnham, Charlie Hayter, Kieran Hallett

Saturday 3 December 2011

London Welsh v Bedford 12:30

London Welsh


London Welsh - The Exiles will be keen to extend their unbeaten run in all matches to seven games, and head coach Lyn Jones makes just two changes to the starting line up that beat Plymouth Albion 24-9 at Brickfields last weekend.

Saul Nelson comes in at hooker for Vili Ma’asi, while there’s one change in the backs with Simon Whatling replacing Paul Mackey at inside centre.

There’s a place on the bench for on loan Wasps hooker Nathan Morris, where he’s joined by Gary Johnson, Seb Jewell and Liam Gibson, who come in for Matt Corker, Whatling and James Lewis.

Welsh will be looking for their first win over the Blues this season having been edged out 22-18 at Goldington Road in the league, and gone down to the last play of the game in the sides’ British & Irish Cup meeting at Sunbury.

Saturday’s game will have to go some, however, to match the drama of last season’s corresponding fixture, when Gordon Ross’ 79th minute penalty from his own half saw Welsh snatch a thrilling 25-22 victory.




Following two successful home victories, Bedford Blues take to the road once again as they make the journey to Old Deer Park to face London Welsh on Saturday afternoon.

The two teams have already faced each other twice this season with games between the sides always being closely fought affairs. So far this year the difference has been four and three points in the league and cup respectively.

When the teams met at Goldington Road back in September, the home side picked up a 22-18 win thanks to a try from Sacha Harding, a penalty from Jake Sharp and 14 points from Jamie Lennard’s boot. In the British & Irish Cup it was tries from Sam Walsh, Don Barrell and Josh Bassett along with Sharp’s kicking that picked up a late, late victory at Sunbury.

The Blues have a couple of injury issues with Ollie Dodge being ruled out for two to three weeks after the winger picked up a concussion during last week’s game with Esher. Neil Cochrane also misses out, but the hooker is expected to be available for the clash against Rotherham next weekend.

In better news, Henry Staff is available after recovering from a broken jaw and the centre, who signed from Saracens in the summer, takes a place on the bench for the clash.

Speaking ahead of the game Bedford Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer said: “We’ve got an extremely tough month ahead of us with some really difficult encounters and they don’t get much harder than a trip to Old Deer Park.

“The Championship is a really close competition this year with only a few points separating all of the teams and we know that if we want to stay at the top end of the table, then we need to put in big performances against the likes of London Welsh on their own patch.

“We’ve had some great encounters over the years at ODP and we have a pretty good record down there but I'm sure they'll be anxious to put one over us after two narrow defeats against us so far this season.

The lads are well aware of the task that faces us and we will need to front up and take the challenge head on.

Their defence is the best in the league so we will need to be accurate and on top of that make sure that their dangerous runners don't win the gain line, if they do it's going to be a long afternoon."

Rayer makes three changes to the team that beat Esher last week with Handre Schmidt returning to the wing in place of Mark Kohler, Jake Sharp starts at fly half instead of Jamie Lennard and Sam Walsh comes in at loosehead prop for Nico Steenkamp.


James Heneghan writing in Bedford Today says that Rayer feels his side are heading into a big month as they prepare to face London Welsh.

The Blues face a daunting run of games over the coming weeks with four of the other current top five in their next four fixtures, starting with the trip to the Exlies this weekend.

Rayer said: “We’ve had some great games with Welsh and I’m hoping for another close match because it’ll mean we’re in the game. They’re a real attacking threat so you’ve got to defend well otherwise the game will go away from you.

“It’s the start of a big month for us but one we’re looking forward to on the back of three league victories"

Full Story www.bedfordtoday.co.uk

London Welsh:
15. Alex Davies, 14. Will Hurrell, 13. Hudson Tonga’uiha*, 12. Simon Whatling, 11. Joe Ajuwa
10. Gordon Ross*, 9. Rob Lewis
1. Guillermo Roan, 2. Saul Nelson, 3. Shawn Pittman*, 4. Adam Brown, 5. Martin Purdy
6. Jon Mills ©, 7. Mike Denbee, 8. Lee Beach.

16. Nathan Morris, 17. Billy Moss, 18. Gary Johnson, 19. Ed Jackson, 20. Jack Moates, 21. Seb Jewell, 22. Liam Gibson.

Bedford Blues
15. James Pritchard (c) 14. Handre Schmidt 13. Brendan Burke 12. Tom Bedford 11. Josh Bassett
10. Jake Sharp 9. Darryl Veenendaal    
1. Sam Walsh 2. Chris Locke 3. Phil Boulton 4. Mike Howard 5. Sean Tomes 6. Alex Rae
7. Sacha Harding 8. Paul Tupai

16. Nico Steenkamp, 17. Dan Seal, 18. Billy Johnson, 19. Sam Pailor, 20. Stefan Liebenberg, 21. Jamie Lennard, 22. Henry Staff.

Moseley v Doncaster 15:00



Moseley will be keen to avenge the early season loss (29 – 21) at Castle Park, when a combination of “early season slow start syndrome”, a disallowed Greg King score and an interception try to Doncaster conspired to see Moseley returning home without even a point.

Key to success on Saturday will be a return to the form seen in the centre where Andy Reay and Greg King have closed down opposition attacks with some effectiveness and delivered a potent attacking thrust.

On top of this the front row must continue the improvements seen in recent weeks and turn in a full 80 minutes performance of parity, or hopefully dominance of their opposite numbers. In addition the whole team must raise the intensity from last week and play with pace, ensuring the dangerous Doncaster backs do not get the opportunity to attack.

A combination of tactical awareness, playing the ball deep into the opposition’s half, and then unleashing the attack would surely yield rewards.

With ten more games to go at this stage of the Championship, anything can happen, and the Moseley Faithful will be hoping that this will start on Saturday in what promises to be an engaging contest.


After last week’s disastrous showing at Nottingham, Moseley face Doncaster tomorrow with just two changes to the starting line-up. Ollie Thomas, injured in training, gives way at fly-half to Brad Davies, whilst Greg King returns in the centre at the expense of Jack Adams.

Doncaster achieved a narrow victory at Castle Park back in September so the Birmingham side will be seeking revenge at their own ground.

Coach Kevin Maggs said “After last week’s poor showing I am looking for a big performance tomorrow.”

Doncaster Knights


Doncaster Knights have announced several changes in an injury-hit squad to face Moseley at Billesley Common in the Championship this Saturday.

The serious injuries sustained by Lee Audis in a road accident have seen the Knights draft in an emergency loan signing from Leeds Carnegie to provide cover for captain Chris Hallam at scrum-half.

Dan White, 22, is a former England U18 international and will be drafted straight into the Championship clash on the bench.

Also absent are tight-head prop Alex Brown and centre PJ Gidlow, who both have ankle injuries. Recent signing Fred Burdon impressed during the win over Cornish Pirates last weekend and has been handed his first Championship start by Brett Davey at centre.

Although Moseley are second from bottom, they have only scored two fewer tries than the Knights with former Doncaster winger, Bradley Hunt grabbing a hat-trick against Nottingham last week and topping their try scorers count. Moseley return home after a demolishing defeat to the Green and Whites and will be looking to bounce back this weekend. Despite one of their two wins this season being over Esher, who have yet to win a game, the other was a shock victory over top-of-the-table Bristol – so the Midlands side should not be underestimated.

The Knights are looking to complete a double over the Birmingham side after beating them 29-21 at Castle Park back in September.


Moseley :
1. Tom Warren; 2.Adam Caves; 3. Craig Voisey; 4.David Lyons; 5.Dan Sanderson
6.Neil Mason; 7.Michael Ellery; 8.Chevvy Pennycook
9. Ryan Glynn; 10. Bradley Davies; 11. William Robinson; 12.Andy Reay; 13. Greg King
14.Brad Hunt; 15. Anthony Carter

16. Anthony O’donnell;17. Charley Thomas; 18. Richard Stott; 19. Michael Maltman; 20.Paul Spivey; 21. Ryan De La Harpe; 22. Mike Gillick.

Doncaster Knights
15 David McIlwaine 14 Dougie Flockhart 13 Oli Goss 12 Fred Burdon 11 Michael Keating
10 Tom Luke 9 Chris Hallam
1 Tom Davies 2 Steve Boden 3 Royce Burke-Flynn 4 Matt Challinor 5 Dominic Parsons
6 Latu Makaafi 7 Zack Farivarz 8 Chris Planchant

16 Jack Yeandle 17 Stuart Corsar 18 Andy Boyde 19 Michael Noone
20 David Bradford 21 Dan White 22 Ben Toft

Rotherham Titans v Plymouth Albion 14:00


Rotherham Titans


Rotherham Titans are likely to make three changes ahead of Plymouth Albion’s visit to Clifton Lane on Saturday. That number could rise to four should club captain Sam Dickinson recover from a rib injury.

Titan’s two changes in the pack are in the front row; Jamie Kilbane returns at loose head prop for Shane Cahill and on the other side Rob O’Donnell comes in for Ben Hooper at tight head. In the back line Matt Rhodes starts at scrum-half in place of Jimmy Williams.

Rotherham will be looking to get back to winning ways after suffering a narrow defeat at Yorkshire rivals Leeds Carnegie last Friday

However, Plymouth Albion are expected to test Titans fully despite their lowly league position. Peter Drewett has recently been appointed Albion’s new Director of Rugby and Plymouth will be anxious to impress their new boss.

The clubs have met on 19 previous league occasions with Titans just edging matters 10-8 with one draw.

Coach Andre Bester anticipates a tough challenge on Saturday from the Devon based outfit and said, “People have been talking about us taking all five points this week, but I have to keep repeating myself when I say anyone can beat anyone in this league…because it’s true. We are going for the win and that’s the important thing and if the bonus point comes along, then all well and good.

“Plymouth will not be a pushover; they will have a spring in their step as they try to impress their new coach Peter Drewett.

They’ve also added Phil Greening to their set-up this week and as a result their defence will be tidier. They will be a different kettle of fish to what they were at the beginning of the season and there’s a little bit of history between the clubs, Plymouth came up here last year and put one over on us.

“It will be a tough game against a tough set of forwards, it will be physical and I expect a real battle. They have got their big-name players back, people like Sean-Michael Stephen their captain and he’s very inspirational. We won’t be underestimating Plymouth at all.”


Plymouth Albion


Plymouth Albion’s Keni Fisilau will make his 200th league appearance for Plymouth Albion tomorrow as they go looking for their first double and first away win of the season at Rotherham .

The Tongan centre, now in his 11th season at Albion, returns to the number 12 shirt after having to make do with only a replacement outing last week following a two-week suspension.

Fisilau takes over from Paul Bailey in one of four changes to Albion's team that lost to London Welsh at home last Saturday.

The other changes see Steve Johns come in on the wing for Tyson Lewis, who has been suspended by Albion for a week pending an RFU disciplinary hearing, Dan Collier return to the starting line-up in place of Herbie Stupple and Sam Hocking come in for the previously ever-present Wayne Sprangle, who does not make the trip to Clifton Lane as his wife is due to give birth to twins.

Albion have enjoyed a good record against Rotherham recently. They have won the last three meetings between the sides, including a 24-20 win at Brickfields in September. Their last defeat against the Titans was in December 2009.

But Albion know they will have to be at their best to extend that record as Rotherham are unbeaten at home this season and will be keen to make up for their defeat in Devon earlier in the season.


Speaking to the Plymouth Herald, Albion’s Director of Rugby Pete Drewett paid tribute to Fisilau's long-service record at Brickfields.

Drewett said: "Firstly, the fact that it is Keni's 200th appearance for Albion is a credit to the player and his fitness.

"Keni's service to Albion has already been well-documented and his dedication and commitment are an inspiration to others.

"His record is truly outstanding and I can see why everyone thinks so much of him .”

Full Story www.thisisplymouth.co.uk

Rotherham Titans:
15 Tom Foden, 14 Ed Tellwright, 13 Dave McCall, 12 Pale Nonu, 11 Shane Monahan,
10 Garry Law, 9 Matt Rhodes
1 Jamie Kilbane, 2 Daniel Baines, 3 Rob O'Donnell, 4 Barney Maddison, 5 Adrian Griffiths
6 Robin Copeland, 7 Sean Dougall, 8 Semisi Taulava.

Replacements From:
16 Ted Stagg, 17 Shane Cahill, 18 Ben Hooper, 19 Sam Dickinson, 20 Steve Hamilton
21 Jimmy Williams, 22 Cliffie Hodgson, 23 Carl Kirwan, 24 Elliot Brierley.

Plymouth Albion
James Love, Mick McGrath, Bevon Armitage, Keni Fisilau, Steve Johns
Mark Lee, Ruairi Cushion, Dave Morton, Gareth Evans, Ryan Hopkins
Dan Collier, Tyler Hotson, Sean-Michael Stephen (capt), Sam Hocking, Aaron Carpenter.

Rupert Freestone, Rob Dugard, Addison Lockley, Herbie Stupple
Paul Rowley, Paul Bailey, Luke Cowan-Dickie.

Sunday 4 December 2011

Bristol v Leeds Carnegie 15:00



Bristol Rugby make three changes to the starting line-up as Liam Middleton shuffles his pack ahead of Sunday’s clash with Leeds Carnegie at the Memorial Stadium.

The Head Coach hands a first start to Jason Harris-Wright, while George Watkins returns to action after a two-game absence.

In the backline, Jack Tovey retains his place on the wing after a solid display against London Scottish. Elsewhere, Junior Fatialofa and Fautua Otto continue their impressive midfield partnership.

Jason Harris-Wright makes his first start at hooker, while Dan Montagu comes in at no.8 with Iain Grieve switching to flanker.

Josh Ovens will feature for parent club Bath in their Aviva Premiership fixture with Sale on Saturday, so is unavailable for selection this week.

On the replacements bench, Middleton opts for a five forwards and two backs split with Ross Johnston named in the 22-man squad after completing his suspension.


Leeds Carnegie


Leeds Carnegie Head Coach Diccon Edwards has made three changes to his side to travel to Bristol this Sunday.

Teenager Pete Lucock moves from the bench to the starting line up on the left wing whilst Craig Hampson swaps places with Robbie Shaw at scrum half. The USA international is a replacement against the club he played for last season.

The final change comes in the pack with Mo Mustafa replacing David Young at prop.

There are three new faces also on the bench for Leeds. New signing Kane Palma-Newport, who joined on loan this week from Bath, is joined by hooker Scott Freer, who comes in for the suspended Phil Nilsen. Experienced centre Scott Barrow returns to action on the bench.


Diccon Edwards speaking to Carnegie Call says of the game at Bristol “It will be very tough down there.”

“They have a fantastic home record and they are on a good run of form recently. We beat them at Headingley Carnegie earlier this season thanks to a drop goal from Joe Ford but both teams have changed a lot since then.

Bristol are not throwing the ball around quite so much but they have a clinical edge now that makes them a dangerous opponent. We know that we will need to move up another gear from last week's performance against Rotherham to challenge them”


Bristol Rugby:
Sean Marsden; George Watkins, Fautua Otto, Junior Fatialofa, Jack Tovey
Tristan Roberts, Ruki Tipuna; Mark Irish, Jason Harris-Wright, Jason Hobson
Mariano Sambucetti, Roy Winters, Iain Grieve (c), James Merriman, Dan Montagu.

Ross Johnston, Wayne Thompson, Darren Crompton, Darren Barry
Marco Mama, Tom Slater, Matty James.

Leeds Carnegie
15. Tommy Bell 14. Michael Stephenson 13. Iain Thornley 12. Joe Barker 11. Pete Lucock
10. Joe Ford 9. Craig Hampson
1. Mike MacDonald 2. Andy Titterrell 3. Mo Mustafa 4. Tom Denton 5. Dan Hemingway
6. Ryan Burrows 7. Chris Walker 8. Jacob Rowan

16. Scott Freer 17. Sam Lockwood 18. Kane Palma-Newport 19. Richard Beck
20. Danny Paul 21. Robbie Shaw 22. Scott Barrow

Cornish Pirates v London Scottish 14:00

Cornish Pirates


The Cornish Pirates where pushed close by London Scottish when the two clubs met at the Athletic Ground, Richmond, in September, the Pirates ultimately emerging narrow 25-23 winners thanks to a late bonus point providing try scored by No. 8 Blair Cowan.

Another tough challenge is expected from 'Scottish' on Sunday, but after a couple of disappointing weeks the Pirates will naturally be keen to start December with a bang and get back on track.

The Pirates starting line-up shows a number of changes from the team that ran out at Doncaster Knights last weekend.

With fly-halves Jonny Bentley and Ceiron Thomas still recovering from injury and skipper and scrum-half Gavin Cattle having picked up a minor injury in training this week, the half-back combination will combine debutant Myles Dorrian, on loan from Exeter Chiefs, who is providing cover in the pivotal '10' position, and Tom Kessell.

Rob Cook reverts to his more familiar role at full-back, where Matt Evans makes way, and Rhodri McAtee, having played two games on loan at Redruth, is selected on the wing in place of Grant Pointer.

The one other change in the backs sees Sam Hill replace Andrew Suniula at inside centre.

In the forwards, Ian Nimmo and Laurie McGlone continue as the second-row pairing, Ryan Storer is recalled at loose-head prop in place of Paul Andrew.

In the back-row Charlie Walker-Blair and Chris Morgan are the selected flankers who replace Phil Burgess and Blair Cowan.


Dick Straughan in the Western Morning News writes that Pirates’ f orwards coach Ian Davies is unconcerned that the Exiles, currently lying ninth in the table, have only won once in their last seven games and have yet to register a win on the road this season.

He believes they are a very different team now to the one the Pirates beat 25-23 at the Athletic Ground in September.

"I don't think they were up to speed with Championship rugby then, but they are now," he said.

"Their defence is very sound and nobody is beating them by big scores. They have recruited the two Argentinians who have made a difference and the availability of dual-registered players to them will always help. There will be a huge battle at the scrum and especially the front row,"

Full Story www.thisiscornwall.co.uk

London Scottish


London Scottish make their longest journey of the season away at Cornish Pirates. Scottish will go into this match determined to make improvements on the back of two consecutive losses, similar to the Pirates record who have also lost the last two matches on the bounce.

Scottish will only be making their third visit to the Mennaye Field ground in the last decade, with the last appearance being in February 2009 for a cup match against the short lived and now defunct Mounts Bay side. 

Scottish twill be determined to put the last two matches behind them and they will go into the match confident that they can put in a good performance and achieve what would be a hard earned victory.

Any match down in Cornwall is very tough, especially in front of a vocal partisan local support. Scottish have the character to take the match to the Pirates and pose a significant threat through a well drilled pack, and backs who will punish any side on their day.


Jamie Sole, son of Scottish Grand Slam captain David Sole, makes his Scottish debut at full-back against the Cornish Pirates after moving from Edinburgh Accies.

A reshuffle amongst the backs means that there is a return to scrum-half for Matt Heeks, Alfie Lalanne dropping to the bench. Agustin Gosio starts at centre alongside Dan Mugford in an all-new combination, and Tim Holgate returns to the starting 15.

Gary Trueman makes a return to the 1st XV after recovering from injury.

Cornish Pirates :
R. Cook, R. McAtee, D. Locke, S. Hill, D. Doherty
M. Dorrian, T. Kessell, K. Marriott, C. Walker-Blair, C. Morgan (Capt)
I. Nimmo, L. McGlone, R. Brits, R. Elloway, R. Storer.

Alan Paver, Dave Ward, Dave Ewers, Phil Burgess, James Doherty, Matt Evans, Grant Pointer.

London Scottish
15. Sole 14. Holgate 13. Gosio 12. Mugford 11. Howells
10. Brown © 9. Heeks 8. Kellard 7. Lonergan 6. Lipp
5. Thomas 4. Rudzki 3. Thiede 2. Kwasnicki 1. Clarke

16. Standfield 17. Liffchak 18. Pape 19. Jo. Brown
20. Calder 21. Lalanne 22. Trueman

Referee   : Ian Tempest (RFU)
Assistants : Simon McConnell & Richard Parker-Sedgemore

Referee Coach   : Ed Morrison