RFU Championship Previews of all the Round 19 games

Friday Jan 27th

27th January 2012


RFU Championship Round19 Preview

RFU Championship News. Previews of all the Round 19 games. All the teams plus news and comment

Friday 27th January 2012 Sunday 29th January 2012
Moseley v Plymouth Albion 19:30

Saturday 28th January 2012
Doncaster v Esher 15:00
Bristol v Rotherham Titans 15:00
Cornish Pirates v London Welsh
14:00 Leeds Carnegie v Bedford 15:00
London Scottish v Nottingham 14:00

This week has been busy on the news front as the transfer deadline approched so 
 for the latest news from around the clubs.

RFU Preview


RFU Round 19 Preview

Victory for Nottingham over London Scottish this weekend would all but mathematically confirm the eight teams that will contest the promotion play- offs and which four teams will battle it out to avoid relegation. Nottingham would join Bristol, Bedford, London Welsh, Cornish Pirates, Rotherham and Leeds in the top eight if successful against Scottish, while Doncaster would need just one match point from their remaining five games to be absolutely certain.

Nottingham were unable to put a three- game losing sequence to bed in the last round of fixtures after their home game against Doncaster was called off due to a frozen pitch. But they narrowly defeated London Scottish, 33-31, when the sides last met at the end of October.

Doncaster, meanwhile, take on Esher, who will resigned to finishing bottom of the table if they fail to win at Castle Park, regardless of how 11th placed Plymouth perform away to fellow strugglers Moseley.

At the top end of the table both Bristol and Bedford will be looking for revenge against Rotherham and Leeds respectively. Bristol suffered a humbling 44-6 defeat at the hands of the Titans last time out, while Leeds came away from Goldington Road with a mightily impressive 45-28 win in the bag.

The weekend’s remaining fixture comes at the Mennaye Field where Cornish Pirates and London Welsh renew their rivalry. Honours were even at Old Deer Park three months ago following a 17- all draw.

Friday 27 January 2012

Moseley v Plymouth Albion 19:30



Moseley will go into this match in tenth place, fifteen points adrift from the safety of eight position.

With a maximum twenty points on offer until the end of the season proper it is still mathematically possible for Moseley to avoid pool C (as is the case for Albion), however this relies on either Nottingham or Doncaster having a disastrous end to proceedings.

So it is likely that tonight’s game will be between two sides destined to face each other twice more in the pool C play offs, which makes this game even more interesting.

Clearly for both sides a victory will be vital as each regular season win provides one point in the play offs.

At present Plymouth’s six wins compares with Moseley’s five. The additional challenge for both sets of coaches will be that they will be going all out for the win, but will not want to show all their cards tonight with potentially more games to come.


There is a lot at stake, as both sides will be hoping to make a strong statement to take into the Pool C play-offs.

In the first match at The Brickfields Moseley had victory snatched away from them, perhaps a little unluckily, in the dying moments of the second half.

This time they will hope to hold their nerve a little longer.

The side is largely unchanged from that which lost in a high-scoring encounter with Rotherham.

One significant difference to the starting line-up is the inclusion of Chevvy Pennycook in the back-row at the expense of Michael Maltman who moves to the bench.

Moseley :
1. Craig Voisey, 2.Adam Caves, 3. Colin Quigley, 4.Richard Stott, 5.Paul Spivey
6.Neil Mason, 7.Michael Ellery, 8.Chevvy Pennycook
9. Ryan De La Harpe, 10. Bradley Davies, 11. William Robinson, 12.Andy Reay
13. Brad Hunt, 14. Anthony Carter, 15. Glynn Hughes

16. Anthony O’donnell, 17. Marshall Gadd, 18. Dan Sanderson, 19. Michael Maltman
20. James Ingles, 21.Greg King, 22 Sam Brown.

Brian Dick writing in the Birmingham Post says:

It seems odd coming from a team that has not been out of the relegation zone all season but there is genuine confidence at Billesley Common.

As the Christmas decorations come down, Moseley’s conviction goes up and while they don’t mind subjecting their supporters to a white-knuckle ride, there is always the belief they will survive.

And where some squads would become wearied by the constant uphill battle of staying in the Championship, Moseley appear to wear it as a badge of honour. After all, it’s not steel until it’s been through fire.

With just four league matches to go before the relegation play-offs start, assuming there will be no minor miracle and Moseley are involved in Pool C once again, the heat is about to be turned up.

Full Story www.birminghampost.net

Plymouth Albion


Plymouth Albion - Rupert Freestone will make his first Championship start tonight when Plymouth Albion travel to Moseley

The 20-year-old hooker, who is in his third season at Brickfields, comes in for the suspended Gareth Evans, who has started all Albion's previous league matches this term.

Freestone for Evans is one of three enforced changes for Albion Friday.

Also unavailable for the trip to Birmingham are number eight Herbie Stupple and winger Tyson Lewis.

Dual-registered forward Stupple has been recalled by his parent club Exeter Chiefs, while Lewis is struggling with a neck injury.

Their places are taken by Canadian World Cup star Aaron Carpenter and Tongan international Sione Tu'ipulotu, who will be making his first start for Albion since returning on loan from Worcester Warriors.

Plymouth Albion:
15 S Tu'ipulotu, 14 P Bailey, 13 B Armitage, 12 K Fisilau, 11 J Love
10 P Roberts, 9 P Rowley
1 J Andrew, 2 R Freestone, 3 R Hopkins, 4 T Hotson, 5 A Lockley
6 S-M Stephen (capt), 7 W Sprangle, 8 A Carpenter.

R Cushion, S Johns, R Dugard, D Morton, S Hocking
D McGregor, J Harris/D Collier.


Other News From Albion

Albion risk being forced out of business unless it can find nearly £100,000, but club chiefs have drawn up a business plan they hope will preserve its 137-year history

​But, at an open meeting on Tuesday evening, shareholders and fans will be told there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Financial troubleshooters have been drafted in to help create a business plan that aims to take the Championship outfit into next season.

Chairman Dr Graham Stirling issued a stark warning that failure to plug the financial black hole could kill professional rugby in the city.

But he added: "We are absolutely confident now, with the backing that we've seen from supporters and the backing we've seen from the business community, that we'll get there."

Full Story www.thisisdevon.co.uk

Saturday 28 January 2012

Doncaster v Esher 15:00



Doncaster - Brett Davey has announced several changes in his Doncaster Knights side to take on the Championship’s basement side Esher at Castle Park.

A shoulder injury to kicker David McIlwaine sees Dougie Flockhart starting at full-back, with Ben Toft coming into the side on the wing.

Mike Whitehead returns from a long injury lay-off to start at fly-half, while Andy Brown makes only his second league start this season at loose-head prop.

Michael Noone, Andy Boyde and Dom Parsons are rewarded for strong performances against Bedford Blues with places in the starting XV.

The bench sees new young signings Tomas Francis and Gareth Quinn-McDonogh selected at the first opportunity.

Latu Makaafi is missing as he recovers from illness, while Tom Davies is committed through University studies. PJ Gidlow and Tom Luke remain on the injury list although Stuart Corsar is close to full fitness.

Davey this week praised the potential of his new signings, which also included full-back/wing Toby Berridge and second row Dan Smith.

“They’ve given us a real lift this week. They’re all long-term prospects with a lot of potential and they’ll push the club forward at a crucial time.

“They’ve had a lot thrown at them this week and perhaps Tom and Gareth wouldn’t have expected to make the squad so soon – but we want to encourage them to go out and play.”

Doncaster Knights
15 Dougie Flockhart , 14 Ben Toft, 13 Oli Goss, 12 Fred Burdon
11 Michael Keating, 10 Mike Whitehead, 9 Chris Hallam (C)
1 Andy Brown, 2 Steve Boden, 3 Alex Brown, 4 Matt Challinor
5 Dom Parsons, 6 Andy Boyde, 7 Zack Farivarz,
8 Michael Noone

16 Royce Burke-Flynn, 17 Jack Yeandle, 18 Thomas Francis, 19 Adam Kettle
20 Chris Planchant, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Gareth Quinn-McDonogh


Late News From Doncaster

Brett Davey has added two further additions to his squad with the signing of youngsters Gareth Quinn-McDonogh and Toby Berridge, who will both be on the bench on Saturday.

Davey believes both backline players can bring quality and depth to key areas ahead of a hopeful play-off challenge.

21-year-old Berridge has joined from Cambridge after the National One outfit hit financial struggle in the New Year. The utility back is capable of plying his trade at full-back, wing or centre.

Berridge said: “I’m delighted to have the chance to play for the Knights, the set-up is so professional and it’s taken me back a little having not experienced this environment before; but I am excited to get stuck in and will aim to take my chance when it comes.”

Davey has also secured the services of a fly-half to provide much-needed cover in a position which has not been occupied by a specialist since Mike Whitehead’s injury in October.

Gareth Quinn-McDonogh, 20, joins from Irish provincial side Munster having also represented Ireland at U20 level. The Irishman will become the youngest player at Castle Park and as a proven goal kicker will provide competition with regular kickers Whitehead and David McIlwaine.

As the play-offs approach Davey is confident that the increase in squad depth will enable him to rotate players during the final games of the regular season and conserve the fitness of his key men.

“The two newest players are a good age and they fit my criteria – they want to take this opportunity and they’re prepared to make sacrifices to do so. It’s a long-term chance for them both.”




Esher Rugby resume their survival bid in this game after a weekend off.

They then have a huge game at home to fellow strugglers London Scottish followed by a trip to Leeds plus a vital final-day showdown against Plymouth.

Mike Schmid said: “The London Scottish and Plymouth matches are two huge games, double pointers really.

But we know we can be in all four games and need a couple of wins to take into the play-offs.”

Esher head to Doncaster looking for their first win on the road and only the second of the campaign overall.

There is no doubt that the remainder of the season will be a tough ask but the mood in the camp is still very positive after recent performances.

A couple of wins before the play-offs will help to continue the shift in momentum and set the tone for those crucial last 6 games.

Esher Rugby 
15 Luke Daniels 14 Andy Wright 13 Phil Mackenzie 12 Tom Cheeseman
11 Geoff Griffiths 10 Mark Atkinson 9 Jamie Mackenzie
1 Dave Millard 2 James Campbell 3 Ricky Nebbett 4 Matt Symons
5 James Inglis 6 Sam Stitcher 7 Peter Synnott 8 Mike Macfarlane

16 Ollie Mines (FR) 17 Shawn Renwick 18 Chris Goodman 19 Kevin Corrigan (FR)
20 Rob Kirby 21 Nicky Little 22 Andy Garner


Sunday 29 January 2012

Bristol v Rotherham Titans 15:00



Bristol - New signing Henry Vanderglas has been named on the replacements bench as Bristol prepare for the visit of Rotherham Titans to the Memorial Stadium on Sunday

Liam Middleton’s side went down 44-6 at Clifton Lane in October, but have only lost twice in the RFU Championship since.

The Head Coach makes four changes from the team that lost narrowly at Old Deer Park two weeks ago, with George Watkins, Ross Johnston, Jason Hobson and Roy Winters returning to the side.

In the backline, Jon Goodridge switches to full-back in place of Sean Marsden, while top-scorer George Watkins is named on the wing.

With Dan Montagu, Jason Harris-Wright and Iain Grieve all sidelined with injury, Middleton makes three changes in his pack.

Jason Hobson and Ross Johnston are named in the starting line-up and Roy Winters is preferred to Mariano Sambucetti in the second row.

Wayne Thompson will become the tenth player in Bristol history to make one hundred league appearances for the Club if he features from the bench.

Bristol Rugby
Jon Goodridge; George Watkins, Fautua Otto, Will Helu, Jack Tovey
Tristan Roberts, Ruki Tipuna; Mark Irish, Ross Johnston, Jason Hobson
Glen Townson, Roy Winters, Josh Ovens, James Merriman (c), Marco Mama.

Rhys Lawrence, Darren Crompton, Wayne Thompson, Mariano Sambucetti
Henry Vanderglas, Tom Slater, Matty James.


Rotherham Titans


Rotherham Titans have made extensive changes to their team as they prepare to go up against league leaders Bristol this Sunday; kick off at The Memorial Stadium is 3pm.

Titans coach Andre Bester has made eleven changes to his starting fifteen, with four of those being positional.

In the backline making his debut for the Titans is scrum half Dale Farnham, who joined Rotherham this week from Plymouth Albion. Dave McCall and Ed Tellwright return to starting berths on the wings, whilst Peter Homan and Elliot Brierley are given the opportunity to impress as a new combination in the centres.

A whole new front row sees Ben Harris, Ted Stagg and Ben Hooper given the nod and there’s good news for Neale Patrick as he returns in the second row, after almost 4 months out, having suffered a neck injury at Nottingham at the beginning of October. Patrick started the first five Championship games of the season and his return is sure to stiffen competition within that area of the squad.

The overall head to head between the clubs sees nothing between them as both sides have won six apiece; whilst Rotherham’s most memorable victory over Bristol came in Round 6 of the Powergen Cup in 2002.

Rotherham visited the then Premiership side and upset all the odds with a 24-19 victory over the men from the West Country. This season’s 44-6 victory over Bristol at Clifton Lane will no doubt also live long in the memory too.

Looking ahead to the contest Andre Bester said, “We have everyone at the club fit and available and we will use this opportunity to rotate heavily and give some guys their chance. Bristol will present us with a great challenge and we have nothing to lose as we aim to continue to develop our squad and these guys will travel to Bristol with no fear.

“I would have liked to have given other players a bit of a break also and we were in negotiations with Leicester to bring in Lee Robinson.

However, at the 11th hour Wasps came in and Lee decided to take that option instead. So we will work with the squad we have and aim to be competitive at play-off time.”


The Star says that Andre Bester is taking a calculated gamble by making multiple changes to the Titans side for this match against league leaders Bristol.

Although Rotherham’s team will be an A side and risks the danger of a heavy defeat, Bester stresses that the vast majority of the squad to face Bristol will have appeared in Championship rugby this season.

“Once the play-offs start, you need a big squad which has played in serious games, so it is essential to give game-time to our reserve players,” he said.

“We’ll see how they adapt to playing against the top side in the league before a big crowd at a big stadium.”

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk

Rotherham Titans
15 Tom Foden, 14 Dave McCall, 13 Elliot Brierley, 12 Peter Homan, 11 Ed Tellwright,
10 Cliffie Hodgson, 9 Dale Farnham
1 Ben Harris, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Ben Hooper, 4 Neale Patrick, 5 Adrian Griffiths
6 Barney Maddison, 7 Carl Kirwan, 8 Sam Dickinson (Capt.).

16 Dan Baines, 17 Jamie Kilbane, 18 Rob O’Donnell, 19 Talite Vaioleti
20 Sean Dougall, 21 Pale Nonu, 22 Garry Law.

Cornish Pirates v London Welsh 14:00

Cornish Pirates


Cornish Pirates - A fourth versus third clash, with two teams quite evenly matched, as was the case when they drew 17-all at Old Deer Park in October.

Many will also have fresh in their minds the memory of seeing the teams involved in a mightily tough Championship semi-final encounter played at the Mennaye Field last season, when on May Day the Pirates won a pulsating contest.

With over an hour of the match gone they were staring defeat in the face with the scoreline reading 3-10, but led by Captain Cattle the Pirates made an admirable comeback to win 18-10.

The Pirates team shows a number of changes from the one that started in the cup against Nottingham last weekend.

Centre Tom Cooper and wing Matt Evans come into the side in place of Sam Hill and David Doherty, who are both unavailable, and in the forwards Dave Ward takes over at hooker from Tom Cowan-Dickie.

Two other changes in the pack are both in the back-row, where flankers Kyle Marriott and Phil Burgess replace Dave Ewers and Chris Morgan.

Cornish Pirates:
R. Cook, R. McAtee, A. Short, T. Cooper, M. Evans,
A. Penberthy, G. Cattle (capt), B. Maidment, P. Burgess
K. Marriott, I. Nimmo, L. McGlone, R. Brits, D. Ward, C. Rimmer.

A. Paver, T. Cowan-Dickie, M. Smith, M. Myerscough
T. Kessell, C. Thomas, G. Pointer.

Match Officials
Referee: J. P. Doyle (RFU)
Assistants: Paul Kimber & Richard Parker-Sedgmore


London Welsh


London Welsh head coach Lyn Jones makes five changes from the side which beat Bristol for Sunday’s trip to the Cornish Pirates.

The Exiles will be out to back up their impressive wins over the Championship leaders and Rotherham Titans, and inflict just a second home defeat of the season on the Pirates, whose only defeat at Mennaye Field came at the hands of Bedford Blues in October.

A try scorer against the Titans, James Lewis returns to the side at inside centre in place of Guy Armitage. In the forwards, there’s a double change in the front row with Billy Moss and Shawn Pitman coming in for Max Lahiff and Leo Halavatu.

There’s also a double change in the back row with Ben Russell and Michael Hills replacing Lee Beach and Mike Denbee.

The only change among the replacements sees Gary Johnson take the place of Kieran Low.

The two sides go into the game on the back of contrasting preparations. While the Exiles had a weekend off, the Pirates booked their place in the British & Irish Cup semi-finals with a 33-3 win over Nottingham.

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. Billy Moss, 2. Saul Nelson, 3. Shawn Pittman, 4. Matt Corker
5. Martin Purdy, 6. Ben Russell, 7. Michael Hills, 8. Ed Jackson.

16. Vili Ma’asi, 17. Tom French, 18. Adam Brown, 19. Gary Johnson
20. Jack Moates, 21. Will Hurrell, 22. Edd Thrower.


Leeds Carnegie v Bedford 15:00

Leeds Carnegie


Leeds Carnegie Head Coach Diccon Edwards has made five changes to his side to face Bedford this Sunday at Headingley Carnegie.

Two of the changes come in the back line with Lee Blackett coming in for Michael Stephenson and scrum half Will Cliff returning after his return to Sale Sharks for one week a fortnight ago.

Skipper Andy Titterrell returns to the side after his brief loan spell at Sale Sharks and his joined in the front row by David Young.

Finally, Richard Beck comes into the back row for his first start in the league since the home win over Nottingham back in November.

On the bench, Jon Pendlebury, who has not featured since the fifth game of the season, returns to the side after overcoming injuries and illness and centre Joe Barker is also back in contention.

Leeds Carnegie
15. Tommy Bell, 14. Lee Blackett, 13. Iain Thornley, 12. Scott Barrow
11. Pete Lucock, 10. Joe Ford, 9. Will Cliff
1. Gareth Denman, 2. Andy Titterrell, 3. David Young, 4. Tom Denton
5. Sean Hohneck, 6. Ryan Burrows, 7. Richard Beck, 8. Jacob Rowan

16. Scott Freer, 17. Sam Lockwood, 18. Mo Mustafa, 19. Jon Pendlebury
20. Dan Hemingway, 21. Robbie Shaw,
22. Joe Barker


Late News From Leeds

Leeds Carnegie have signed Tongan international prop Halani Aulika until the end of the current season.

The 28-year-old, who can play at loose or tight head played for the Highlanders in Super Rugby last season and made three appearances in the World Cup in New Zealand for Tongan.

Commenting on the signing Director of Rugby Diccon Edwards said, “We are delighted to have secured a player of Halani’s quality as we enter a crucial part of the season.

The fact that he can play on both sides of the front row is a major plus for us especially with Mike MacDonald and Phil Swainston currently out injured and Kane Palma-Newport having returned to Bath after his loan spell at the club.

“He will add a lot of experience to our squad as we look to build our momentum in to the play offs and our promotion drive,” added Edwards.




Following a much appreciated weekend off, Bedford Blues return to action on Sunday afternoon for this mouth-watering encounter against Leeds at Headingley. The Blues sit second in the Championship but with just a single point separating them from London Welsh and Cornish Pirates, Bedford know that they will have to be at their best to remain in the same spot following the round 19 fixtures.

Bedford welcome back number eight Jonathon Fisher back to the squad after his lay-off with a fracture to the foot, but the game has come a little too soon for new signings Ben Cooper and Darren Fox who joined from Cambridge earlier in the week. Winger Handre Schmidt (knee) and flanker Sacha Harding (neck) are the main injury absentees, but Bedford will also be without Billy Johnson who has joined Premiership champions Saracens on a short-term loan deal.

Looking ahead to the game, Blues Team Manager Rob Crowle said: “It is certainly a long journey to make on a Sunday, but we are looking forward to the game and the opportunity to restore some pride following the defeat we suffered to Leeds back in October. We know that we under performed on that occasion and we have the chance to put that right this weekend.

“The extra weekend has certainly been beneficial and the lads look to be in fantastic shape and have certainly been throwing themselves into training over the past fortnight. The boys have had the chance to recuperate a little while longer and welcoming Jon Fisher back is a real boost as is the introduction of Ben and Darren to the squad.

“It appears that everyone is on a high and raring to go but it won’t mean a great deal if we don’t put in the work on Sunday. It’s going to be tough but if we perform to the standard that we know we can, then we are in with a shot.”

Bedford Blues
15. James Pritchard (c) 14. Mark Kohler 13. Brendan Burke 12. Ian Vass
11. Josh Bassett 10. Jake Sharp 9. Stefan Liebenberg
1.Sam Walsh 2. Neil Cochrane 3. Phil Boulton 4. Mike Howard
5. Sean Tomes 6. Gregor Gillanders 7. Alex Rae 8. Paul Tupai

16. Chris Locke, 17. Nico Steenkamp, 18. Jonathon Fisher, 19. Don Barrell,
20. Darryl Veenendaal, 21. Jamie Lennard, 22. Ollie Dodge


Other News From Bedford

Bedford Blues flanker Sacha Harding has been ruled out of action for six weeks due to a disc injury in his neck.

Harding, who is in his 11th season with the Goldington Road club, picked up the knock during the game against Cornish Pirates on New Year’s Day and has already missed games against Doncaster and London Scottish and he is unlikely to be back in action until the play-offs have kicked off in March


London Scottish v Nottingham 14:00

London Scottish


London Scottish - This match is the penultimate home league fixture of the regular season and Scottish will be looking to bounce back after their loss at Bedford. Nottingham were involved in the British & Irish Cup Quarter-Finals last weekend and lost heavily away at Cornish Pirates 33 -3.

London Scottish took their first break after playing continuous rugby week on week since the start of September last year and the rest weekend will have given the coaching team time to reflect on the progress that has been made by Scottish during the course of the season.

In addition, it will also have given the medical and conditioning staff at the club further time to ensure that the squad will be eager and raring to go into the remaining regular league fixtures of the season, together with the all important relegation play-off matches.

There are a number of players on the injury list who are very close to being available for matches and will certainly provide a boost of confidence for the whole squad.

Scottish go into this fixture against a Nottingham side that are very physical in the pack and have a good set of backs who like to throw the ball out wide.

They will certainly pose a significant challenge to Scottish, however at home Scottish will be determined to increase their win tally of league matches and improve the clubs prospects going into the play off matches.


There are welcome returns to the match-day 22 against Nottingham with the recovery from serious injury of number 8 Mark bright, and full-back John Bordiss both being included.

Bright suffered a muscle tear and subsequent operation in October, and is pitched straight back into the starting line up after proving his fitness in training. Bordiss suffered a punctured bowel at Doncaster earlier in the season, and it was expected that he may well miss the remainder of the campaign. However, he has returned ahead of schedule to take his place on the bench for Sunday’s game at the Richmond Athletic Ground.

Gerard Mullen starts after signing from London Welsh this week, and young hooker Ollie Hayes has a place on the bench after arriving on duel registration terms from Worcester Warriors.

Elsewhere, Oxford university wing Sean Morris makes his first start, and there is return to the number 9 shirt for Matt Heeks.

London Scottish
15 Gerard Mullen, 14 Agustin Gosio, 13 Ryan Westren, 12 Ben MacDougall
11 Sean Morris, 10 James Brown, 9 Matt Heeks
8 Mark Bright, 7 James Kellard, 6 Adam Kleeberger, 5 Alex Karonias
4 Karl Rudzki (c), 3 Aaron Liffchak, 2 Tom Standfield, 1 Ant Kent

16 Ollie Hayes, 17 Alex MacKenzie, 18 Ben Thomas, 19 Willie Lipp
20 Simon Amor, 21 Oli Grove, 22 John Bordiss



Nottingham travel to Scottish on Sunday knowing that victory would surely secure their place in the Play-offs.

The Green and Whites are on 44 points, the same as Doncaster Knights, who they play in a re-arranged fixture on February 12 at Meadow Lane.

London Scottish are on 29 points, the same as Moseley and both have four games left to play.

After winning three league games in a row, Nottingham have since managed to lose their next three in the Championship, their last win coming in the British and Irish Cup when they beat Currie in Edinburgh on December 17.

Nottingham and Doncaster each have five games left so a victory over the Exiles would help relieve the pressure.

Full Story www.thisisnottingham.co.uk

Nottingham’s Director of Rugby, Glenn Delaney, is adamant he has all the right tools to put a stop to their recent run of Championship defeats.

The Green and Whites have struggled over the festive period and during the early part of the New Year, with three league defeats, a postponement and a British and Irish Cup Quarter Final exit meaning that their last taste of victory came in mid December.

Delaney remains confident in the squad he has put together and is determined to get back on track when they travel to the Athletic Ground to take on London Scottish on Sunday, even if that means sacrificing their traditionally expansive style of play.

“Habits are wonderful things to create, but you don’t want to create habits for the wrong reasons.

“We have to go and grind out a win. I’m not interested in bonus points, I’m not interested in anything flamboyant and we are not there to entertain the crowd. We are there to win a game of rugby, the hard way if needs be.

“We know where we went wrong in our defeats and we will learn from those mistakes. It just makes us more determined not to make those same mistakes again

“Scottish showed how dangerous they can be when they nearly secured a comeback victory against us when they came to Meadow Lane, so we know we’ll have to be on top of our game for 80 minutes to get a result.

“We need to get our big runners going. We need to get Kalamafoni running ball up hard, Levi running the ball up hard and get Socino making his little breaks.

“We have enough tools in the locker to win a game down there; we just have to make sure we are coming up with the right decisions under pressure.”

The Green and Whites bring Ben Prescott into the front row for the injured Matt Parr, while club captain Craig Hammond comes back into the second row with Filipo Levi moving to Number 8. Jonny Baird starts on the flank in place of Brent Wilson.

In the backs, Kieran Hallett starts at 10 with James Arlidge having a well deserved break, while Mike Penn returns on the wing.

The bench sees spots for Ayoola Erinle and Joe Cobden as they continue their recoveries from injury. Matt Holloway will be looking to make his first appearance in the league at some point in the match.

Forwards: Michael Holford, Joe Duffey, Ben Prescott, Craig Hammond (c), Nic Rouse, Sione Kalamafoni, Jonny Baird, Filipo Levi

Backs: Sean Romans, Kieran Hallett, Jack Cobden, Juan Socino, Tim Streather, Mike Penn, Andrew Savage

Replacements: Matt Holloway, Matt Shields, Lee Morley, Rupert Cooper, Nathan Jones, Ayoola Erinle, Joe Cobden