RFU Championship News

Friday 6th

RFU Championship News 6th January 2012

 
 

RFU Championship News Friday 6th January 2012

Previews of both Round 17 games.
All the teams plus news and comment from around the clubs.

Saturday 7th January 2012 Sunday 8th January 2012
Doncaster v Bedford 14:30
London Scottish v Plymouth 15:00
Moseley v Leeds Carnegie 15:00
Rotherham v London Welsh 13:00
Bristol v Esher 15:00
Cornish Pirates v Nottingham 14:00

RFU Preview
RFU Round 17 Preview

Table- topping Bristol and title hopefuls Rotherham will go all out to defend perfect home records in Round 17. Both sides have won all seven games so far played in front of their own supporters and Bristol will be confident of extending that run against bottom-of-the-table Esher. But Mike Schmid’s men will go into the game buoyed by their first win of the season - a 24-12 success against Rotherham.

Rotherham, though, have proved more than a match for anyone at Clifton Lane, and London Welsh will have to be at their best to avoid joining the likes of Bristol and Bedford in leaving South Yorkshire empty- handed.

For the fourth time this season, Tommy Bell kicked a match- winning penalty with the final play of the game as Leeds beat London Scottish 19-17 last Sunday. Saturday's opponents Moseley came unstuck in similar fashion back in mid- October, losing 22-21 at Headingley, and since then Bell has gone on to score 164 Championship points – over half his side’s overall total.

Plymouth ended a run of six straight league losses with victory over Doncaster, but their celebrations were muted following the news that Pete Drewett had parted company with the club after less than six weeks in charge. Nat Saumi and John Roberts will take temporary charge of coaching for the trip to London Scottish on Saturday, while elsewhere in the fixture list Doncaster play Bedford and Cornish Pirates take on Nottingham – two matches that ended in draws earlier in the campaign.

RFU News: Thursday 5th January 2012.
Issued on behalf of RFU Championship by Nicol McClelland

Andre Bester of Rotherham Titans appeared before an RFU Disciplinary Panel last night charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Union and/or the Game (contrary to Rule 1.52.) by verbally abusing a match official in the RFU Championship match, Bedford Blues v. Rotherham Titans on December 10 at Goldington Road.

Bester pleaded guilty to the charge and received a three week touchline ban, suspended until June 1 2013. He is also required to pay a fine of £500.

The panel comprised Mike Hamlin (chair), David MacInnes and Austin Newman.

Issued on behalf of RFU Championship by Nicol McClelland


Saturday 7 January 2012

Doncaster Knights v Bedford Blues 14:30

Doncaster

 

Doncaster Knights are hoping to end up winners both on and off the field tomorrow. In a bid to cash in on their 'Boxing Day' best gate of the season, Knights are giving season ticket holders the chance to bring two friends/family members for free.

The club have also launched a ‘Knights’ Loyalty Card’ for supporters who pay cash on the day. Anyone attending all the remaining games, and getting their card stamped, will receive free admission to the’ final Promotion Play-Off game.

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk

The Knights have announced a strengthened side to face Bedford tomorrow with the return of some key players from injury.

Tom Luke starts at outside-half after recovering from a shoulder injury, with Fred Burdon retaining his place in the side after some impressive performances, reverting to his preferred position at centre.

Second-row, Dominic Parsons has shaken off a broken toe to make the starting fifteen, while the bench sees the inclusion of flanker Adam Kettle, who has been out of action since the early stages of the season with a serious knee injury.

Elsewhere Michael Noone replaces Chris Planchant who has suffered an infection to his ear wound and new signing Michael Heaney takes his place amongst the substitutes hoping to make his home debut.

The two sides battled to a compelling 18-18 draw back in October, but Bedford have since leapt up to the table to second place and will be out to continue their winning streak after a 32-13 victory over promotion rivals Cornish Pirates.

The Knights are looking to bounce back from a disappointing away loss to Plymouth Albion last week and cement their position in the play-off zone.

www.drfc.co.uk

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 Alex Brown 4 Matt Challinor
5 Dominic Parsons 6 Latu Makaafi 7 Zack Farivarz 8 Michael Noone

Replacments
16 Royce Burke-Flynn 17 Jack Yeandle 18 Glen Kenworthy 19 Andy Boyde
20 Adam Kettle 21 Michael Heaney 22 PJ Gidlow

Bedford

 

 

Bedford Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer feels his side need to show more consistency as they prepare to visit Doncaster Knights, writes James Heneghan in Bedford Today .

Rayer is also wary of the threat Doncaster pose in all areas of the pitch, saying: “They were probably the most physical side we’ve faced when we played them at our place earlier in the season so it makes our job away even tougher.

“I’ve been impressed with the way they approach their games. They played a bit of rugby and have a good all-round game and on their day they are a match for anyone.

Full Story www.bedfordtoday.co.uk

The year may have started in the best possible way for the Blues as they defeated Cornish Pirates 32-13 last weekend, but they know it counts for nothing as they head up the M1 to face Doncaster.

A trip to Donnie is always a daunting task for any team in the division and Bedford know that the Knights will be keen to bounce back from an 18-6 away loss to Plymouth Albion in their last outing.

Bedford will be without influential pairing of Alex Rae and Sacha Harding who both picked up knocks during the New Year’s Day fixture, but there was good news as Sean Tomes has recovered from injury to take a place on the bench where he is joined by Gregor Gillanders whose return to action after a long term injury has been going superbly in recent weeks,

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, Blues Forwards Coach Martin Hynes said: “The lads have had a cracking start to 2012, but it was just one game and now we have to head up to Castle Park to try and get a result. We drew 18 all with the Knights at our place last year and to be honest we were a little fortunate with that given that they missed a late penalty

“We are very aware of what Doncaster can do and we also know that they will be sore after losing down at Albion last weekend so we are expecting a big reaction.

“We’ve had a bit of a shorter week in terms of preperation, but the lads have shown that they are ready for this one and I think it’s going to be a belting game.”

Bedford make four personnel changes to the team which started against Cornish Pirates last weekend with Jamie Lennard, Sam Pailor, Billy Johnson and Paul Tupai all starting in place of Jake Sharp, Alex Rae, Gregor Gillanders and Sacha Harding.

www.bedfordrugby.co.uk

Bedford Blues
15. James Pritchard (c) 14. David Vincent 13. Brendan Burke 12. Henry Staff
11. Josh Bassett 10. Jamie Lennard 9. Darryl Veenendaal
1. Nico Steenkamp 2. Neil Cochrane 3. Dan Seal 4. Mike Howard
5. Sam Pailor 6. Billy Johnson 7. Don Barrell 8. Paul Tupai

Replacements:
16. Chris Locke, 17. Phil Boulton, 18. Sean Tomes, 19. Gregor Gillanders
20. Stefan Liebenberg, 21. Jake Sharp, 22. Ian Vass

In other news at Bedford, centre Tom Bedford has joined Premiership outfit Newcastle Falcons on a permanent deal.

Tom Bedford, who joined the Blues from Exeter Chiefs in Summer 2010, had been enjoying a good run in the team and it was these performances that caught the eye of the Falcons management.

Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer said: "Hopefully this will be a good opportunity for Tom and that he will be able to get plenty of game time to prove himself. We all wish him well and although it’s been a tough call, Tom really wanted to give it a crack and we respect that.

“In looking at our options within the squad at present we feel we have enough depth at this time to cover his departure. Both clubs have come to a suitable financial agreement and therefore Tom is free join the Falcon’s with immediate effect"

www.bedfordrugby.co.uk


London Scottish v Plymouth Albion

London Scottish

 

London Scottish return to home soil on Saturday after two away fixtures over the holiday period

The match on Saturday will be a significant challenge for both sides for very differing reasons. Scottish will be looking to bounce back after their narrow loss at Leeds Carnegie with the last kick of the game, whilst Plymouth go into the match at the back of a week, which has seen a dramatic change in their coaching team as a result of funding issues at the club.

In the reverse fixture at the Brickfields Stadium in mid October Scottish again suffered a dramatic loss with Plymouth scoring their winning try in the 9th minute of injury time.

It was during this match the Scottish number 8 Mark Bright suffer an injury and it will be good to see Mark back on the pitch in the coming weeks.

The Scottish points in this game were scored through an Ollie Grove try, converted by Dan Mugford and five Mugford penalties. Again the Scottish backline will take on a completely new look from the reverse fixture and the backs are warming up nicely to ensure that Scottish gain revenge for their last minute loss.

Scottish will be taking on the Plymouth side on Saturday when potentially they are at their most unpredictable, due to the off field turmoil the club are currently experiencing. In many cases it motivates a team more and they raisetheir game and close ranks.

Scottish will need to remain totally focused and put in a thoroughly professional performance to achieve the win.

www.londonscottish.com

This match is a battle between two sides attempting the unlikely task of clawing their way out the Championship’s bottom 4 end of season playoff pool.

Scottish will be buoyed by the return from injury of Wasps duel-registered centre Mitchell Tamiau, who was due to be with Scottish for the season before breaking his ankle in pre-season training. His recovery means that he slots into the team in place of Charlie Hayter who suffered an injury in training over the festive period.

Elsewhere, Canadian World Cup international Adam Kleeberger makes his home debut after impressing in the previous two away games.

Despite Plymouth’s well documented off-field troubles, Scottish Coach Simon Amor is not treating their threat lightly: “We certainly won’t be underestimating them on Saturday. As we have seen at other clubs, adverse conditions such as these often serve galvanise a squad and bring the players closer together, and I am certain that this will be the attitude Plymouth will arrive with.”

London Scottish
15. Stuart Peel 14. Agustin Gosio 13. Ryan Westren 12. Mitchell Tamiau
11. Mark Robertson 10. Dan Mugford 9. Simon Amor
8. Willie Lipp 7. Ben Lonergan Z. Adam Kleeberger 5. Josh Thomas Brown
4. Alex Karonias 3. Aaron Liffchak 2. Tom Standfield 1. Nick Auterac

Replacments
16. Craig McGrath 17. Alex MacKenzie 18. Karl Rudzki 19. James Kellard
20. Matt Heeks 21. James Brown 22. Oli Grove

Plymouth Albion

 

Plymouth Albion's players will attempt to put the crisis club's off-the-field problems to one side tomorrow and claim their first away win of the season writes Sara Raine in the Herald.

Fijian coach Nat Saumi will be in charge of the team for the first time. Saumi has taken over the reins after director of rugby Peter Drewett, who only arrived at Brickfields in November to replace the sacked Graham Dawe, walked away from the club last week, after they could not pay his salary.

The Fijian, who has sought advice from both Drewett and Dawe this week, is confident the players can put Albion's off-the-field problems behind them tomorrow.

Full Story www.thisisplymouth.co.uk

Albion will be looking to build on their good win over Doncaster Knights last week when they travel to London Scottish.

Nat Saumi, in charge of the team for the first time, will be assisted by fellow first team coach John Roberts.

Former Fijian international back Saumi has been at Albion since 2003 having previously played for the Pirates and Redruth,

Saumi is confident the players won't let Albion's problems off the field affect their performance.

"The players have been very positive," said Saumi. "Training has been good this week."

"But it is going to be a tough game, going up there, as they are also trying to get into the top eight.

"Yet we'd like to follow up on what happened last Friday night."

Albion, looking for their first league double of the season tomorrow having narrowly beaten Scottish at Brickfields, keep the same team as which beat Doncaster 18-6 last Friday to end a six-game losing run in the Championship.

Scottish currently sit one place and three points above Albion. However, Plymouth have won one more game than their London rivals.

www.plymouthalbion.com

Plymouth Albion:
15 James Love, 14 Paul Bailey, 13 Bevon Armitage, 12 Keni Fisilau
11 Tyson Lewis, 10 Paul Roberts, 9 Paul Rowley
1 Jack Andrew, 2 Gareth Evans, 3 Ryan Hopkins, 4 Tyler Hotson
5 Addison Lockley, 6 Sean-Michael Stephen (capt), 7 Wayne Sprangle, 8 Herbie Stupple

Replacments:
Ruairi Cushion, Mark Lee, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Rob Dugard
Rupert Freestone, Sam Hocking, Aaron Carpenter

Following a shareholders meeting Albion issued an official statement on their website yesterday:

The Board is able to report that last night's meeting, called at short notice, was well attended. Over 60 shareholders and guarantors were present including all of those with major shareholdings.

Following a detailed presentation setting out the history, the current situation, the options and the preferred way ahead the meeting was opened up for comment and questions. There was a supportive mood across the audience and agreement that the Club, the shareholders and the citizens of Plymouth must do all in their powers to maintain a professional rugby football club in the Championship.

Faced with a requirement to raise a minimum of £200,000 and, ideally, £250,000 the meeting adjourned for a period to enable those attendees who were able, to make financial pledges of support to the Club. A good proportion of those attending made pledges and further pledges have been promised over the next couple of days. It is pleasing to be able to report that good progress has already been achieved with over half the required sum being pledged on the night.

Despite this we must remain focussed on raising the entire sum required and further funds are urgently required. The Board and the shareholders would welcome financial contributions from any individual or company who would like to do their part to ensure that the Club, which is over 135 years old, is able to continue on the national rugby stage for many years to come.

www.plymouthalbion.com


Moseley v Leeds Carnegie 15:00

Moseley

 

Moseley Coach Kevin Maggs is expected to keep faith with the bulk of the team which against the odds beat London Welsh at Old Deer Park last week.

Half-backs Ryan de la Harpe and the young Glynn Hughes retain their places, but there are planned last-minute injury tests on Chevvy Pennycook and Billy Robinson, both of whom have not been able to train this week with shoulder and leg problems respectively.

In the corresponding fixture at Headingley in the autumn, Leeds won an exciting contest by just one point with a last minute penalty kick. Moseley will be looking to get the win which will add to their points tally to take into the end-of-season play-offs.

www.moseleyrugby.co.uk

Moseley
1. Craig Voisey; 2 Colin Quigley; 3. Anthony O’donnell; 4.Richard Stott
5.Paul Spivey; 6.Neil Mason; 7.Michael Ellery; 8.Chevvy Pennycook
9. Ryan De La Harpe; 10. Glynn Hughes; 11.; Anthony Carter 12. Greg King;
13. Brad Hunt; 14.Jamie Hearn; 15. William Robinson

Replacements:
16. Tom Warren;17. .Adam Caves; 18. Charley Thomas; 19. Michael Maltman
20. Ryan Glynn; 21.Bradley Davies; 22. Andy Reay

Leeds Carnegie

 

Leeds Carnegie full back Tommy Bell is confident that Leed’s ability to grind out victories in deep midwinter will serve them well come the end of the season.

The 19-year-old has been one of the stars of Leeds’s season with his intelligent kicking game, his ability under the high ball and his desire to run from deep, which epitomises the West Yorkshire side’s enterprise.

“We like playing with tempo, to keep building that through a game and then to step it up in the second half.

“We have got three great kickers at the club now with Joe and George Ford and that is certainly keeping me on my toes.”

Full Story www.yorkshirepost.co.uk

Leeds Carnegie Head Coach Diccon Edwards has selected England U20 star George Ford at fly half for this second game for the club after arriving on loan from Leicester Tigers.

Ford takes the place of his older brother Joe, who is amongst the replacements, with Jordan Davies, who is on loan from Sale Sharks, starting at inside centre.

They are the only two changes to the starting line up for Leeds as they travel to Moseley following their last gasp win over London Scottish last weekend.

There are two more changes on the bench with Gareth Denman coming in for Sam Lockwood and Alex Rieder replacing the injured Dominic Barrow.

www.leedscarnegie.com

Leeds Carnegie
15. Tommy Bell 14. Michael Stephenson 13. Iain Thornley 12. Jordan Davies
11. Pete Lucock 10. George Ford 9. Will Cliff
1. Mike MacDonald 2. Phil Nilsen 3. Kane Palma-Newport 4. Tom Denton
5. Sean Hohneck 6. Ryan Burrows 7. Chris Walker 8. Jacob Rowan (c)

Replacements
16. Scott Freer 17. Gareth Denman 18. Mo Mustafa 19. Richard Beck
20. Alex Rieder 21. Robbie Shaw 22. Joe Ford


Rotherham Titans v London Welsh 13:00

Rotherham Titans

 

Rotherham Titans will be looking to put their New Year’s Eve defeat away to Esher behind them, as they prepare for the tricky visit of London Welsh on Saturday.

Andre Bester makes six changes to his starting 15, two of which are positional. In the back line, the only change sees Peter Homan come in on the wing for Ed Tellwright. Homan has patiently been waiting in the wings for another opportunity to shine, after starting the first four Championship games of the season.

Jamie Kilbane and Ted Stagg start in the front row, whilst Carl Kirwan makes his 2nd Championship start of the campaign at blindside flanker.

Club captain Sam Dickinson moves from number 8 into the second row as Titans top try scorer Robin Copeland wears the number 8 jersey.

London Welsh currently sit third in the table, after also coming off a disappointing and surprising 7-10 home defeat to Moseley and will no doubt themselves be eager to get back to winning ways. Titans visit to Old Deer Park back in October, was arguably their best performance to date. A thrilling 33-25 victory, not only secured 5 points on the day, but also suggested that Titans maybe a threat a play-off time.

The overall head to head in all competitions has Rotherham holding a 16-8 advantage; however in recent times it is the Exiles who have had the better of things, having won 6 of the last 9 encounters.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s match Titans coach Andre Bester commented, “Welsh are a physical side and currently have the best defence in the division. Their set piece is good and solid and they are very good in general play. In Gordon Ross they have the most experienced fly-half in the Championship and he can dictate games for them.

“They have a lot of pace and a lot of skill, their movement on and off the ball is very good and it will be our job to try and take that away from them and put them under pressure. The best way we can do that is to put in a performance; we need to make sure we have the belief and intensity about our game if we want to gain the result we’d like.”

www.rotherhamrugby.co.uk

Rotherham Titans
15 Tom Foden, 14 Peter Homan, 13 Dave McCall, 12 Pale Nonu
11 Shane Monahan, 10 Garry Law, 9 Jimmy Williams
1 Jamie Kilbane, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Rob O’Donnell, 4 Barney Maddison
5 Sam Dickinson (Capt.), 6 Carl Kirwan, 7 Sean Dougall, 8 Robin Copeland.

Replacements:
16 Dan Baines, 17 Shane Cahill, 18 Ben Harris, 19 Adrian Griffiths
20 Elliot Brierley 21 Matt Rhodes, 22 Cliffie Hodgson.

London Welsh

 

London Welsh travel to Rotherham Titans and Clifton Lane on Saturday keen to end a run of four games without a win.

Head coach Lyn Jones makes just four changes from the starting line up which went down 10-7 to Moseley on New Year’s Eve.

Mike Denbee returns from injury at openside flanker to make his first appearance since the Exiles’ victory over Bedford Blues on December 3.

There’s one other change in the forwards with Matt Corker partnering Martin Purdy in the second row in place of Mike Powell.

The changes in the backs see Liam Gibson and James Lewis come in for Ashley Smith and Guy Armitage respectively.

While the Exiles go into Saturday’s game on the back of two draws and two losses, the Titans will be keen to bounce back from their defeat away to Esher last Saturday, and in doing so complete the double over Welsh.

When the sides met at Old Deer Park earlier this season Rotherham ran out 33-25 winners, with Robin Copeland crossing twice in a bonus-point victory.

The Titans also came out on top the last time the sides met at Clifton Road. Re-fixed for mid-week, after the original fixture fell victim to the weather, Rotherham won 29-13, despite centre Hudson Tonga’uiha crossing for an early try for the visitors.

Prior to that, the Exiles had won on their previous three visits to Clifton Road – 28-22 in 2009/10, 20-7 in 2008/09 and 17-3 in 2007/08.

www.london-welsh.co.uk

London Welsh:
15. Alex Davies, 14. Liam Gibson, 13. Hudson Tonga’uiha, 12. James Lewis
11. Joe Ajuwa, 10. Gordon Ross ©, 9. Rob Lewis
1. Tom French, 2. Saul Nelson, 3. Shawn Pittman, 4. Matt Corker
5. Martin Purdy, 6. Lee Beach, 7. Mike Denbee, 8. Ed Jackson.

Replacements:
16. Nathan Morris, 17. Billy Moss, 18. Gary Johnson, 19. Ben Russell
20. Jack Moates, 21. Will Hurrell, 22. Edd Thrower. .


Sunday 8th January 2012

Bristol v Esher 15:00

Bristol

 

Bristol Rugby: Iain Grieve returns to the starting line-up to lead Bristol against Esher at the Memorial Stadium on Sunday

The skipper, who suffered a serious-looking thigh injury against Plymouth in December, has missed only three fixtures and replaces the injured Dan Montagu at no. 8.

Liam Middleton makes a total of six changes from the side that secured a bonus-point victory over Nottingham last week.

George Watkins replaces Jack Tovey on the wing, while Matty James starts in the RFU Championship for the first time since Moseley in early November.

Rhys Lawrence and Wayne Thompson come into the front row in place of Ross Johnston and Jason Hobson. In the second row, Mariano Sambucetti is named alongside Glen Townson.

The Head Coach opts for a strong replacements bench that includes Tristan Roberts and Roy Winters. Tongan Will Helu recovers from a knee injury to be included in the 22-man squad.

www.bristolrugby.co.uk

Bristol Rugby:
Sean Marsden; George Watkins, Fautua Otto, Junior Fatialofa, Jon Goodridge
Matty James, Ruki Tipuna; Darren Crompton, Rhys Lawrence, Wayne Thompson
Mariano Sambucetti, Glen Townson, Josh Ovens, James Merriman, Iain Grieve (c).

Replacements:
Ross Johnston, Mark Irish, Roy Winters, Marco Mama
Tom Slater, Tristan Roberts, Will Helu.

Esher

 

Esher’s Director of Rugby Mike Schmid has told revitalised Esher to play without fear in Sunday’s big clash at Championship pacesetters Bristol.

The Surrey side finished the year on a huge high by claiming their first win of the campaign in a 24-12 home victory over his old side Rotherham last weekend.

That followed the stunning 13-13 draw at high-flying local rivals London Welsh on Boxing Day that ended a run of 14 straight defeats.

Now Schmid has called for the same approach at mighty Bristol as Esher aim to pull off a shock win at one of England’s most famous clubs.

Esher’s Director of Rugby admitted: “We always said when we get most of our players back we would be strong enough to be competitive in this league and it was a huge win for us against Rotherham.

“We showed our character and the commitment was superb. It was a well-deserved win which has re-energised the guys.

“Obviously playing Bristol away is a big game for anyone but I want the boys to let it all hang out and play our own brand of rugby. We must just go out there and play as hard as we can and see what happens.”

Esher have just six league games remaining and badly need victories with each one worth a point going into the end-of-season relegation play-offs in March.

Fellow strugglers Moseley and Plymouth have both won five games while local rivals London Scottish have four victories.

Schmid said: “Ideally we want to get two or three more wins from our remaining games to keep pace with the other teams before the play-offs.”

Esher’s revival has been coincided with the recent return of several players from injury with Dave Millard and Ian Kench now fully fit.

Schmid has also been boosted by the availability of several dual-registered Harlequins players with lock Charlie Matthews, full-back Ross Chisholm, prop Will Collier and wing Charlie Walker all featuring against Rotherham.

Esher have also been lifted by the loan signing of London Irish lock Tom Alexander, who can also play in the back row.

Schmid added: “Tom’s a gem and has been a real find for us. He’s on a week-to-week loan but we hope we can have him for the rest of the season.

“It’s also been great to get players like Dave Millard and Ian Kench back from injury while the Quins boys have been fantastic.”

Kench scored a try in the victory over Rotherham with Canada star Phil Mackenzie also touching down. Mark Atkinson booted two penalties with Pete Synnott also kicking two and adding a conversion

www.esherrugby.com


Cornish Pirates v Nottingham 14:00

Cornish Pirates

 

The Cornish Pirates have recalled fly-half Aaron Penberthy from his loan spell at Redruth ahead of Sunday's fixture against Nottingham,writes Dick Straughan in the Western Morning News.

The talented 19 year-old has impressed this season for the Reds but will start for the Pirates on the bench this week as cover for Ceiron Thomas following the news that Myles Dorrian has returned to Exeter Chiefs for the remainder of the season.

Full Story www.thisiscornwall.co.uk

With the play-offs beginning on March 10 and Nottingham also chasing promotion to the Premiership, Pirates boss Chris Stirling expects Sunday's game to be a real test.

"There are no easy games at all and Nottingham will be smarting after a defeat at home to Bristol," said Stirling. "They will come down and want to get some points from our place."

He continued: "But that's not going to happen. We want to turn the Mennaye into a fortress from now until the rest of the season and we have promised ourselves that."

Full Story www.thisiscornwall.co.uk

An enthralling contest is expected for the Cornish Pirates first home game in 2012. Both sides will be smarting from defeats suffered last weekend.

Nottingham lost at home 24-35 against league leaders Bristol, whilst the Pirates disappointingly lost 32-13 away to Bedford Blues.

A meeting between the two sides at Meadow Lane in October ended in a 25-all draw, and a close contest can be expected again on Sunday.

The Cornish Pirates are presently fourth in the league table and the 'Green & Whites' of Nottingham are seventh.

The Pirates selection shows a number of changes from the team that lost at Bedford on New Year's Day, including a return on the wing for Rhodri McAtee in place of Matt Evans.

Lock Ian Nimmo also returns to match action against his former club, partnering Mike Myerscough in the second-row.

Matt Smith makes way and takes a place on the bench where promising young fly-half Aaron Penberthy - hoping to make his Championship debut - is also named.

http://cornish-pirates.com

Cornish Pirates:
R. Cook, R. McAtee, G. Pointer, D. Locke, D. Doherty
C. Thomas, G. Cattle (capt), B. Maidment, C. Morgan
B. Cowan, M. Myerscough, I. Nimmo, A. Paver, D. Ward, P. Andrew

Replacements:
C. Rimmer, T. Cowan-Dickie, M. Smith, K. Marriott
J. Doherty, A. Penberthy, S. Hill.

Match Officials
Referee: Ross Campbell (RFU)
Assistants: Jonathan Healy & Steve Leyshon

Nottingham

 

Nottingham Rugby make the first of their two trips to the Mennaye in the next 12 days, they play Cornish Pirates on Sunday, then on January 20th, they meet the Pirates in the quarter-finals of the British and Irish Cup.

So far this campaign, the Green and Whites director of rugby, Glenn Delaney, has used two different squads for the two competitions, relying on his youngsters getting them to this stage of the B&I Cup.

However, now that they are approaching business end of the season, both clubs will want to progress further in the cup and that could mean Delaney making more us of his senior players.

Sunday's game could be pivotal as to which road he goes down as both sides will be looking to gain the early initiative.

Full Story www.thisisnottingham.co.uk

Nottingham are set to continue their tough run of fixtures on Sunday at the Cornish Pirates.

A good run of form toward the end of last year saw the Green and Whites climb the table to a play-off position, but two defeats over the Christmas period, against Rotherham and Bristol, has seen the side drop down, five points shy of fourth place.

Looking to bounce back and return to their winning ways, Nottingham’s challenge this weekend will prove no easy feat as Cornish Pirates have only lost at home once this season.

The two teams met back in October at Meadow Lane in a thrilling 25-all draw that saw Nottingham lead until the end, but the squad will be wanting the full four points this time around as the play-offs draw closer.

Nottingham’s Director of Rugby Glenn Delaney said: “We’re looking to stay keen and enthusiastic. We learnt a lot against Bristol, who are clearly the best side in the league and we’ll be determined not to make the same mistakes again. We need to execute better, do our core basics better and if we can do that for the full 80 minutes we’ll give ourselves a good chance of returning to winning ways.

“Pirates are a very good side and we know this will be a tough encounter but we know that we have the quality in our squad to put in a performance and give the Pirates a real test.”

www.nottinghamrugby.co.uk

Nottingham:
A. Savage, A. Lewington, T. Streather, J. P. Socino, J. Cobden
J. Arlidge, S. Romans, R. De Carpentier, B. Wilson, S. Kalamafoni
N. Rouse, F. Levi,. M. Holford, J. Duffey (capt), M. Parr

Replacements:
O. Taylor, M. Shields, B. Prescott, C. Hammond
R. Cooper, F. Barnham, J. Munro.