RFU Championship News

Play-Offs 2

16th March 2012


RFU Championship News Friday 16th March 2012

Play Offs Round 2

Friday 16th March 2012
Pool B Bedford v Cornish Pirates 19:45
Pool C Plymouth Albion v Esher 19:45

Sunday 18th March 2012
Pool A Bristol v London Welsh 15:00
Pool B Leeds Carnegie v Rotherham Titans 12:15
Pool C London Scottish v Moseley 14:00
Pool A Nottingham v Doncaster 15:00

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Play Offs Round 2
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Pool A - Bristol fell just three points shy of matching their best- ever points total in an away game in the league game when they inflicted a 65-3 defeat on Doncaster last Friday night. The nine- try rout at Castle Park was also the first time they had scored 60 points on the road in a league match since the thrashing of Cornish Pirates in the final game of the 2010 play- off series.

Hooker Ross Johnston is the surprise leader at the top of the try- scoring charts after Round One of the play- offs following his hat- trick, while there were further scores for Jack Tovey (2), Luke Eves, Fautua Otto, Ben Glynn and a penalty try in what was a real statement of intent from Bristol ahead of this weekend's visit from London Welsh.

Bristol edged out Welsh 35-33 in one of the games of the season at the Memorial Stadium back in October, a crowd of over 6,000 and the TV audience watching at home being royally entertained by an eight- try thriller that was settled in injury- time.

London Welsh also go into the game on the back of a bonus- point win: a 32-21 success at home to Nottingham that was anything but as comfortable as the scoreline suggests. Welsh found themselves trailing by a point on the hour mark but three tries in a devastating nine- minute spell yielded 19 unanswered points and a crucial five points. Nottingham will aim to bounce back with victory over shell- shocked Doncaster at Meadow Lane on Sunday.

Pool B - Bedford are in pole position to qualify for the Championship semi- finals after securing a magnificent 32-19 win at Rotherham. Remarkably it was the Blues' sixth bonus- point victory away from home this season. Mike Rayer's men recovered from going behind to a Shane Monahan try in the first minute to score five tries and set themselves up nicely for this weekend's massive game at home to Cornish Pirates.

The Pirates' 14- all draw with Leeds has worked in the Blues' favour and a second straight win would see the Goldington Road outfit open up a sizeable lead over the rest of their Pool B rivals. The corresponding regular season game between Bedford and Cornish Pirates resulted in a 32-13 win for the Blues on New Year's Day.

Like Blues, Leeds showed a lot of character on the road to pick up two points away to Pirates, who had put over 50 points on them in the same fixture in Stage 1 of the season. The Sky Sports cameras were at that game and Leeds have been itching to put right those wrongs in front of a televised audience ever since.

Sunday's game against Rotherham gives them that opportunity with the game at Headingley Carnegie being shown live by the satellite broadcaster. Rotherham, who need to win to keep their play- off hopes alive, will hope for a similar outcome to the last time they were on TV: a 15-14 win at Doncaster on February 18th which came courtesy of Garry Law's last- gasp penalty.

Pool C -
Plymouth will hope to carry their regular season home form into the relegation play- offs when they take on Esher at Brickfields on Friday night. All six of Albion's total number of wins in the regular season came in front of their own supporters, while Esher won just once on their travels in the first 22 rounds of action.

Both sides were beaten on the opening weekend, Plymouth surrendering a 17-6 lead at Billesley Common to go down to a 25-17 defeat against Moseley. Esher closed the gap between themselves and Plymouth at the bottom of the Pool C table courtesy of the losing bonus point they picked up in a 16-20 defeat against London Scottish. The home side won the two head- to- heads in the regular season.

London Scottish and Moseley, who meet at the Athletic Ground on Sunday, both boast ten points after the first round of the play- offs. Five penalties from Dan Mugford and a try from Gerard Mullen provided Championship newcomers Scottish with all 20 of their points at Esher. Meanwhile, Moseley had kicker Ollie Thomas to thank for their victory after the winger booted six penalties and a conversion for a 20- point haul. Adam Caves added a try.

London Scottish had the Indian sign over Moseley during the regular season, recording a double over the Birmingham- based side. Mugford was instrumental in both victories having scored 24 points in the 37-21 win at home and another 19 in the 29-16 win on Moseley soil

Friday 16th March 2012

Bedford v Cornish Pirates 19:45 (Pool B)



Bedford - Round two of the play-offs see Bedford Blues returning to action at Goldington Road with a Friday night spectacular against the Cornish Pirates.

Despite overcoming the Cornishmen both home and away in the regular season, the Blues are under absolutely no illusion that tonight’s game will be as intense as it gets, as both teams strive to secure a semi-final spot.

Bedford got off to the best possible start to the play-offs with a 19-32, bonus point victory over Rotherham at Clifton Lane last weekend while the Pirates drew 14 all with Leeds at the Mennaye.

Bedford picked up one injury last week with tight head prop Phil Boulton taking a knock to the calf which rules him out of Friday’s clash. They also remain without Mike Howard and David Vincent (both with ankle injuries). Gregor Gillanders, Mark Kohler and Handre Schmidt all miss out as the Blues go for continuity in selection.

Looking ahead to Friday’s game, Forwards coach Martin Hynes said: ”We know right from the off this week that our intensity and concentration levels need to go up several notches, this Pirates sides will be pretty desperate to put one over us and get back into the mix in this group.

“From our point of view we have looked to put a few things right in training this week as, although over the moon with result last Saturday, there were parts of our performance that fell below our expected standard. There will be no room for anything less than our best on Friday but with a big crowd anticipated and a real buzz around the training ground I’m sure we are in for one hell of a game.”

The Blues make just one change to the team that defeated Rotherham last weekend with Ben Cooper coming in to replace the injured Phil Boulton. There is also one change on the bench with Ricky Reeves eagerly anticipated return in place of Nico Steenkamp.


Bedford Blues
15. James Pritchard (c) 14. Ollie Dodge 13. Henry Staff 12. Ian Vass
11. Josh Bassett 10. Jake Sharp 9. Luke Baldwin
1. Sam Walsh 2. Neil Cochrane 3. Ben Cooper 4. Sean Tomes
5. Paul Tupai 6. Alex Rae 7. Darren Fox 8. Jonathon Fisher

16. Chris Locke, 17. Ricky Reeves, 18. Don Barrell, 19. Sacha Harding
20. Darryl Veenendaal, 21. Jamie Lennard. 22. Brendan Burke

Mike Rayer, Bedford director of rugby, speaking to Bedford Today, said We can’t play like we did at Rotherham against the other sides in the pool because they’ll take their opportunities so we’ve got to wise up.

“We can’t get carried away because we only played for 15 minutes last week. The players have to be honest and realise they didn’t perform last week, but we’re at home this week so I’m expecting a whole different performance.

“We lost the ball countless times in contact and gave far too many penalties away.

“The guys have to realise that if they don’t wake up soon and smell the coffee we’re going to be in trouble.”

Full Story www.bedfordtoday.co.uk


Cornish Pirates


Cornish Pirates - Feeling somewhat flat and frustrated after drawing their Pool B opener at home to Leeds Carnegie, the Pirates will be charged up and keen to give a good account of themselves when facing Bedford Blues tonight.

There'll be no lack of incentive to strive for victory at Goldington Road, as the Cornish side has already lost to the Blues twice already this season, and will be desperate to deny Bedford making it three wins on the trot.

Also they will be wanting to record their first win in the play-offs.

Changes to the starting line-up from the one that ran out against Leeds Carnegie sees Ceiron Thomas selected at fly-half and a fit again Andrew Suniula picked at inside centre.

In the forwards Ben Maidment and Phil Burgess come into the back-row and Ryan Storer returns at loose-head prop.

Back to fitness, Rob Elloway and Mike Myerscough are named on the bench.

Cornish Pirates:
R. Cook, T. Kessell, G. Pointer, A. Suniula, M. Evans
C. Thomas, G. Cattle (capt), B. Maidment, P. Burgess, C. Morgan
I. Nimmo, M. Smith, A.Paver, D. Ward, R. Storer.

C. Rimmer, R. Elloway, R. Brits, M. Myerscough
K. Marriott, A. Penberthy, R. McAtee

In the Pirates camp, High Performance Manager Chris Stirling has always known that Bedford away will be a huge test after losing both regular season games against them, but he is more concerned with putting right the wrongs of Saturday's scrappy draw with Leeds.

He said: "We have got to set our performance straight after the Leeds result. The two previous results against Bedford have got nothing to do with it because it is all about our current form, and based on the Leeds performance we are way off the mark."

"It's about putting that right now and if we do that and get back to where we should be then potentially we can go up there and take the points.

Full Story www.thisiscornwall.co.uk


Plymouth Albion v Esher 19:45 (Pool C)

Plymouth Albion


Plymouth Albion make two changes to their team as they look to make home advantage tell in a fixture head coach Nat Saumi has described as the 'club's biggest in years'.

After slipping to a narrow defeat at Moseley last Friday, Saumi's side are keen to bounce back and also continue their good form at Brickfields.

Albion won six of their 11 regular league matches on their own patch.

The club welcome back Tyson Lewis to their team for Esher's visit. He comes in on the wing for teenager Jack Arnott. Albion's other change is enforced with Rob Dugard coming into the front-row to replace Ryan Hopkins, who has been ruled out of the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury in training this week.

On the bench, Albion are able to recall Mark Lee, who has been out since January with a broken hand, and serviceman Gareth Evans, who has had work commitments.

Plymouth Albion
15 Sione Tu'ipulotu, 14 James Love, 13 Paul Bailey, 12 Bevon Armitage
11 Tyson Lewis, 10 Paul Roberts, 9 Ruairi Cushion
1 David Morton, 2 Jon Vickers, 3 Rob Dugard, 4 Tyler Hotson
5 Sean-Michael Stephen (capt), 6 Herbie Stupple, 7 Wayne Sprangle, 8 Aaron Carpenter

Jack Arnott, Mark Lee, Jack Andrew, Addison Lockley
Rupert Freestone, Sam Hocking, Gareth Evans.


Albion have suffered another major injury blow as they fight to stay in the Championship.

With lock Dan Collier and scrum-half Paul Rowley already on the sidelines with injuries, and key centre Keni Fisilau suspended for the rest of the season, Albion yesterday lost experienced prop Ryan Hopkins for the remainder of the campaign.

Full Story www.thisisplymouth.co.uk

The Herald says this weekend is set to be make or break for the future of sport in Plymouth as Argyle, Albion and the Raiders face their fate.

Leader of Plymouth City Council, Vivien Pengelly, said: "It would be dire if we lost both Argyle and Albion, I can't think of anything worse. It's going to be a fight but we need people whatever the weather to come out at the weekend.

Nigel Rowe of Plymouth Sports Forum, added: "The impact of our professional clubs is massive on our city. Albion and Argyle have struggled and are still struggling in the leagues and their finances. It's always too late to look back and say we should have supported them when they're not there any longer but now is the time to help them. They raise the profile of the city and impact further down in getting voluntary or youth clubs involved in sport."

Full Story www.thisisplymouth.co.uk




Esher - Mike Schmid has called for Esher to be more streetwise in Friday’s Championship relegation play-off crunch at Plymouth.

Esher crashed 20-16 at home to London Scottish in their play-off opener as they paid the price for poor decision-making and indiscipline.

It leaves them at the foot of the Pool C relegation group, still one point adrift of Plymouth, who went down 25-17 at Moseley.

But Director of Rugby Schmid is confident Esher can bounce back against a Plymouth side they beat comprehensively 41-17 at Molesey Road last month.

Schmid said: “The mentality has got to be different at Plymouth. We gave the ball away far too easily against Scottish and we have got to go out and play our game.

“We made too many mistakes with the ball, whether that was decision-making or execution. But the good thing is that we can fix that, there’s no issue there.

“We have got to put this game behind us quickly because the boys are obviously gutted to lose the first one.  But we can learn from it, be slightly street smarter and build the confidence back up going into Friday.

 “We beat Plymouth recently but the play-offs are a different kettle of fish. It comes down to small things and doing the small things right.

Full Story www.esherrugby.com


Sunday 18th March 2012

Bristol v London Welsh 15:00 (Pool A)



Bristol - Josh Ovens returns to the starting line-up as Bristol Rugby prepare for London Welsh in a mouthwatering Pool A clash at the Memorial Stadium on Sunday.

The 22 year-old on loan from Bath moves into the back-row alongside Marco Mama and captain Iain Grieve.

Liam Middleton makes three further changes from the side that beat Doncaster 65-3 last Friday in the opening game of the RFU Championship play-offs.

In the solitary change to the backline, Matthew Jones replaces Tristan Roberts at fly-half, while Darren Crompton and Rhys Lawrence are included in the front row.

The Head Coach reverts to a five forwards and two backs split on the replacements bench, with Wayne Thompson coming into the 22-man squad.

Bristol Rugby
Jon Goodridge; Jack Tovey, Fautua Otto, Luke Eves, George Watkins
Matthew Jones, Ruki Tipuna; Darren Crompton, Rhys Lawrence, Jason Hobson
Glen Townson, Roy Winters, Josh Ovens, Marco Mama, Iain Grieve (c).

Jason Harris-Wright, Mark Irish, Wayne Thompson, Dan Montagu
Henry Vanderglas, Tom Slater, Tristan Roberts.



London Welsh


London Welsh - The Memorial Stadium could be the setting for another Championship cracker on Sunday if London Welsh’s previous visit to Bristol this season is anything to go by.

An eight-try thriller back in September saw the Exiles edged out 35-33, with Jack Tovey crossing for the match winning score a minute from time. Welsh having held the lead from Rob Lewis’ first minute intercept try.

The Exiles, though, would get their revenge at Old Deer Park, as they came out on top 23-17 thanks to tries from Hudson Tonga’uiha and Saul Nelson.

Last weekend’s opening round of play-off action saw both sides make winning bonus point starts to Pool A, to leave the Exiles a point adrift of Bristol in the table.

Welsh overcame the successive sinbinnings of Gordon Ross and Alex Davies to hit Nottingham with a three-try blitz in nine second half minutes to secure a 32-31 win, while Bristol sent out a clear message to their title rivals with their 65-3 nine-try rout of Doncaster Knights at Castle Park.

Welsh and Bristol also have plenty of play-off history. It was at the Memorial Stadium in 2010 that the Exiles’ title hopes were ended, as they went down 28-15 in their semi-final meeting.

Last season, though, Welsh completed the double over Bristol in the pool stages on their way to again reaching the last four – the Exiles winning 54-9 at Old Deer Park and then 36-14 in the return game at the Memorial Stadium.

London Welsh:
15. Alex Davies, 14. Joe Ajuwa, 13. James Lewis, 12. Hudson Tonga’uiha
11. Nick Scott, 10. Gordon Ross©, 9. Rob Lewis
1. Shawn Pittman, 2. Saul Nelson, 3. Greg Bateman, 4. Adam Brown
5. Matt Corker, 6. Lee Beach, 7. Mike Denbee, 8. Ed Jackson.

16. Dan George, 17. Billy Moss, 18. James Tideswell
19. Gary Johnson, 20. Ben Russell, 21. Jack Winter-Moates, 22. Will Hurrell.

Those expecting another high scoring clash between London Welsh and Bristol at the Memorial Stadium on Sunday could be in for a disappointment, according to Exiles centre James Lewis.

Lewis, who crossed twice in Welsh’s 32-21 victory over Nottingham at Old Deer Park, is predicting a much tighter affair and is expecting defences to dominate.

The Exiles will certainly need to breach the holes in their defence which Nottingham found early on last Saturday, but failed to fully exploit, particularly in light of Bristol’s 65-3 hammering of Doncaster Knights at Castle Park.

Welsh’s previous visit to the Memorial Stadium yielded eight tries with the last of those coming in the final minute from Jack Tovey to snatch victory for the home side, 35-33.

The Exiles reversed that result at Old Deer Park with Hudson Tonga’uiha and Saul Nelson crossing in a 23-17 win. Lewis believes Sunday’s affair could be even tighter.

“I think it will be a battle of defences, rather than a battle of attacks,” he said. “I think it will be a totally different game to the other two, it will be much tighter. It’ll be a heavy defensive game.

Full Story www.london-welsh.co.uk


Leeds Carnegie v Rotherham Titans 12:15 (Pool B)

Leeds Carnegie


Leeds Carnegie - . Leeds Carnegie Head Coach Diccon Edwards has made two enforced changes to his side to face Rotherham Titans this Sunday at Headingley Carnegie,.

England U20 international Tommy Bell has been released from the national side to return to club action and will start at full back. The return of Bell allows Stevie McColl to revert to the wing in place of the injured Michael Stephenson.
The other change comes in the forwards with Tom Denton coming into the starting line up in place of the injured Jon Pendlebury in the second row.

Both teams will be anxious to kick start their play off campaign after mixed fortunes on the opening weekend. Rotherham led for most of their game against Bedford before suffering a late flurry of tries from their visitors whilst Leeds secured a 14-14 draw at Cornish Pirates last Saturday.

The two sides have already met three times this season and on each occasion the home team has come out victorious. Rotherham beat Leeds at Clifton Lane on the second weekend of the regular season 22-18. Leeds then won the British & Irish Cup clash at Headingley Carnegie, when both teams fielded much changed sides, 17-3. However in the league encounter at home, Carnegie also ran out 25-19 winners back in November. Only three points seperated the two teams in the final league table however Leeds won two more games that the Titans during the regular season.

The Leeds Carnegie team includes one former Rotherham player in Ryan Burrows, who made the move from South Yorkshire during the summer however Lee Blackett and Jon Pendlebury both miss out on clashes against their former club. There have been a host of players who have played for both clubs in recent years including Hendre Fourie, Erik Lund and Joe Bedford.

Leeds Carnegie
15. Tommy Bell 14. Stevie McColl 13. Iain Thornley 12. Scott Barrow
11. Pete Lucock 10. Joe Ford 9. Will Cliff
1. Sam Lockwood 2. Andy Titterrell 3. Halani Aulika 4. Tom Denton
5. Dan Hemingway 6. Ed Williamson 7. Jacob Rowan 8. Ryan Burrows

16. Phil Nilsen 17. Mo Mustafa 18. David Young 19. Richard Beck
20. Danny Paul 21. Robbie Shaw 22. Jordan Davies


Rotherham Titans


Rotherham Titans - Titans Head Coach Andre Bester has opted to start with the same 15 players that dominated Bedford Blues for much of last Saturday’s match, only to concede three very late tries and have victory snatched from their grasp. There are however two changes on the bench; Rob O’Donnell comes in for Talite Vaioleti and Peter Homan returns for Byron Godfrey.

During Stage 1 of the season, clashes between the sides were closely fought encounters with each side winning their home game and each side receiving the losing bonus point. A similar tight encounter is anticipated on Sunday in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Looking ahead to the fixture Titans Head Coach Andre Bester commented, “It’s margins that wins Championship’s, It’s margins that win rugby matches. There were far too many marginal errors at critical times that cost us the match against Bedford last week. It was our unforced errors more than anything else that cost us that game. We need to make sure against Leeds we don’t have the same lapses in concentration that we had last week.

“If we get into the right areas of the pitch we need to score, we need to come away with points. We need to make sure we don’t make those critical errors, because they can be terminal.

“It doesn’t matter that you play the best rugby for 72 minutes and be the best team on the pitch and then in the last 8 minutes of the match concede 21 points. It’s just not something that good players and a good team do and if we aspire to be a good team with major players in there, then it can’t happen against Leeds on Sunday.

“Leeds will provide us with a traditional Yorkshire derby where no quarter will be asked or given. They have an exceptionally good set up, good coaches and very good players that deserve the highest respect. Leeds are in a good place right now and they are in fine form. They earned a terrific result at Pirates last week, not many teams go down there and get a result.

“We know it will be tough to go to Leeds and get the result, but we are not going there to lose the match we are going there aiming to get the win.”

Leeds Carnegie Head Coach Diccon Edwards also anticipates a tough encounter as he remarked, “I think they will be very tough for a number of reasons. This is a derby game and they are always fiery encounters whenever Leeds and Rotherham clash but add to that the importance of the game in the play offs and it is set up really well.

Rotherham were very unlucky last week, having watched the game they should have had the game won well before the end and then to lose it in the manner they did will have hit them hard. They will come out fired up on Sunday and we have to be ready for that.”


Rotherham Titans:
15 Tom Foden, 14 Stephen Hamilton, 13 Dave McCall, 12 Pale Nonu
11 Shane Monahan, 10 Garry Law, 9 Jimmy Williams
1 Shane Cahill, 2 Dan Baines, 3 Ben Hooper, 4 Sam Dickinson (Capt.)
5 Barney Maddison, 6 Robin Copeland, 7 Sean Dougall, 8 Semisi Taulava.

16 Ted Stagg, 17 Jamie Kilbane, 18 Rob O’Donnell, 19 Adrian Griffiths
20 Carl Kirwan, 21 Matt Rhodes, 22 Peter Homan.



London Scottish v Moseley 14:00 (Pool C)

London Scottish


London Scottish - After a great start to the Championship Playoffs last weekend against Esher, London Scottish prepare to face Moseley on Sunday in a top-of-the-pool clash.

The regular season fixtures went in Scottish’s favour both home and away, but Head Coach Simon Amor has warned his side they face a ‘huge battle’ in what he described as ‘the second of six cup finals’.

Amor: “They have threats in attack and in their physicality, so it will be a huge battle for us.”

Speaking about the impact of the Athletic Ground crowd during this vital period, Amor said, “It gives the boys a real lift when they hear the crowd and they really do respond to it. In this crucial period in our season, it is that one per cent that will help get us over the line."

London Scottish
15. John Bordiss 14. Agustin Gosio 13. Ryan Westren 12. Charlie Hayter
11. Gerard Mullen 10. Dan Mugford 9. Simon Amor
8. Mark Bright 7. James Kellard 6. Adam Kleeberger 5. Josh Thomas Brown
4. Alex Karonias 3. Aaron Liffchak 2. Adam Kwasnicki 1. Nick Auterac

16. Alex Clarke 17. Tom Standfield 18. Alex Mackenzie 19. Ben Thomas
20. Matt Heeks 21. James Brown 22. Stuart Peel




Moseley - With both teams on equal points following wins in the opening round of the Group C Play-offs, the winners of this match will take themselves to the top of the Group table.

In the regular season Scottish took the honours in both home and away ties, with Moseley producing two of their poorer performances of the season.

This time they will hope to redress the balance, and Coach Kevin Maggs is expecting more from his team. “In both games against Scottish we did not start playing until we were well behind on the score-board. I expect more passion this time around”, he said.

The Birmingham side expect to be unchanged from that which finished against Plymouth last week, but have a problem on the bench where they need front-row cover after Craig Voisey suffered a broken arm in last Friday’s match, bringing an abrupt end to his season.

1. Marshall Gadd; 2.Adam Caves; 3. Colin Quigley; 4. David Lyons
5.Paul Spivey; 06.Neil Mason; 07.; Michael Ellery 08.Chevvy Pennycoo
9. Sam Brown; 10.Brad Davies; 11. Brad Hunt; 12.Andy Reay
13. Greg King; 14. Anthony Carter; 15. Ollie Thomas

16. Anthony O’Donnell;17. A.N.Other; 18. Richard Stott; 19. Ben Pons
20. Michael Maltman; 21. William Robinson; 22 Ryan De La Harpe.


Nottingham v Doncaster 15:00 (Pool A)



Nottingham has turned to its most lethal finisher to put Doncaster to the sword at Meadow Lane on Sunday.

David Jackson has been recalled to the Green and Whites starting line-up, replacing full-back Andrew Savage who sustained a leg injury in Nottingham’s opening finals loss to London Welsh.

Director of Rugby Glenn Delaney has put an emphasis on attacking potency for the Knights’ visit on Mother’s Day, naming dual registered Leicester Tigers winger Alex Lewington as a replacement for Jack Cobden (leg injury).

Injury has also forced prop Matt Parr out, with Jonny Harris promoted.

Apart from a positional switch, seeing winger Tim Streather swap with Ayoola Erinle at centre, the make-up of the side remains similar to that which was used at Old Deer Park.

“It’s a very similar side, because the reality is that it wasn’t the personnel that was the issue last week, it was the application, being sharp enough to finish what is on offer,” Delaney said

The double act of Lewington, fresh from helping Leicester win through to the LV= Cup final last week, and Nottingham’s top-try-scorer, Jackson, boast the qualities that Delaney craves.

“We clearly weren’t finishing at the weekend and Alex has probably been one of the most clinical finishers in the squad this year and he is the quickest by some way,” Delaney said.

“He had a great experience being in Leicester’s winning LV= Cup side away to Bath, so coming back for us this week I hope he can bring those experiences with him and use them against Donny.

“Jacko is a guy who has been out for half a season and still finished as our top try scorer. He is a proven performer for this club, and has been for a long time and will continue to be so.

“With Jacko it’s been about bringing him in at the right time, and this is the right time.”

While losing Parr to a slight arm injury is a blow for Nottingham, Delaney insists he can afford to be cautious with his heavy artillery.

“It’s only enough to keep Parr out for a week, but it’s one of those that if knocked again it could compound the problem and we could miss him for a couple of matches.

“Jonny showed when he last started against Donny, that he can be very good for us.”

Nottingham Rugby
1 Jonny Harris 2 Joe Duffey 3 Ryan Bower 4 Craig Hammond (c)
5 Nic Rouse 6 Sione Kalamafoni 7 Brent Wilson 8 Filipo Levi
9 Sean Romans 10 James Arlidge 11 Ayoola Erinle 12 Juan Socino
13 Tim Streather 14 Alex Lewington 15 David Jackson.

16 Jimmy Stevens 17 Michael Holford 18 Ben Prescott 19 Alex Shaw
20 Phil Eggleshaw 21 Finlay Barnham 22 Kieran Hallett




Doncaster - Brett Davey has announced a strong squad to take on Nottingham this Sunday as Doncaster Knights attempt to get their Championship promotion campaign back on track.

After a baptism of fire in last week’s play-off opener against a dominant Bristol side, the Knights will be keen to salvage their pride by beating the Midlands outfit at Meadow Lane.

Their record against the Green and Whites this season doesn’t provide much confidence, and with injury problems mounting at Castle Park, Davey’s men face an uphill challenge.

Irish scrum-half Michael Heaney is handed a starting place and Stuart Corsar makes only his second start since November at loose-head. Matt Challinor also returns to the starting line-up after a short spell on the sidelines, while an injury crisis in the backs sees Davey forced to name six forwards on the bench.

But Club Captain Chris Hallam is still confident that his Knights outfit could turnover a bruised Nottingham side this weekend as they remain positive about their promotion ambitions.

Hallam said: “As a small tight knit squad promotion would be an amazing achievement, but one that we feel is still a realistic ambition and it must start with Nottingham this Sunday.

“Belief within the camp is still high and one bad result doesn’t make us a bad team. Every side in this league is beatable we just have to perform on match-day.”

Doncaster Knights
15 Ben Toft 14 Dougie Flockhart 13 Oli Goss 12 Fred Burdon
11 Michael Keating 10 Gareth Quinn-McDonogh 9 Michael Heaney
1 Stuart Corsar 2 Steve Boden 3 Alex Brown 4 Matt Challinor
5 Dominic Parsons 6 Latu Makaafi 7 Zack Farivarz 8 Chris Planchant

16 Royce Burke-Flynn 17 Jack Yeandle 18 Glen Kenworthy 19 Adam Kettle
20 Michael Noone 21 Chris Hallam 22 Andy Boyde