RFU Championship News

Friday 30th

30th September 2011


RFU Championship News Friday 30th September 2011

RFU Championship News. Previews of all the Round 5 games. All the teams plus news and comment

Friday 30 September 2011 Saturday 1 October 2011
Esher v London Welsh 19:45
Nottingham v Rotherham 19:45
Bedford v Bristol 15:00
Plymouth Albion v Cornish Pirates 15:00
Sunday 2 October 2011  
Leeds Carnegie v Doncaster 15:00
London Scottish v Moseley 14:00

Championship leaders Cornish Pirates defend their unbeaten record away to local rivals Plymouth Albion this weekend. Pirates won all three games between the sides in 2010/11, but the previous year Albion were victorious when they met each other at brickfields in the regular season and the play- offs.

Fourth plays second at Goldington Road on Saturday with Bedford taking on Bristol in what is also a repeat of last season’s British & Irish Cup final. Bristol won on that occasion to claim their first silverware for seven years; however the Blues achieved a league double over the West Country outfit.

Argentinean Juan Pablo Socino will come face to face with his former team- mates when his Nottingham side take on Rotherham in one of two Friday night fixtures. Nottingham held the upper hand in last season’s televised encounter, winning 37-8.

Esher are still looking to get their season up and running going into their floodlit match against London Welsh. They won last season’s corresponding game, 22-19.

Having conceded more points in a single game than in any of last season’s Premiership fixtures by going down to a 52-10 loss at Cornish Pirates, a third Yorkshire derby in the space of three weeks looms for Leeds with a home game against Doncaster Knights. The Knights won 27-12 the last time the sides met – on 7th March, 2009, at Castle Park.

London Scottish entertain Moseley for the first time since the 1997/98 season, the year that the Exiles got promoted to the Premiership.

Friday 30 September 2011

Esher v London Welsh 19:45

Speaking ahead of this evening’s match, Esher Director of Rugby, Mike Schmid said :-

"With a couple of hard lessons from Nottingham and Moseley over the last two weeks, we are determined to keep fighting and challenging each week. The keys for us have to be to continue to improve our game management, up our physicality and ensure we are a bit more consistent throughout the whole 80 minutes."

Schmid has told his players to ‘stand up and be counted’ if they are to repeat last season’s stunning triumph over local rivals London Welsh.

Esher pulled off a memorable 22-19 victory over high- flying Exiles at Molesey Road a year ago almost to the day.

But Esher chief Schmid knows the odds are stacked against Esher after four straight defeats leaves them bottom of the Championship without a point.

In contrast, Welsh are riding high in third place with three wins from four with their only reverse a narrow 22-18 defeat at Bedford.

Now Schmid is demanding his side produce an 80-minute display as they aim to bounce back from a disappointing 35-21 defeat at Moseley.

Schmid said: “The guys have got to stand up and be counted against London Welsh if we are to get anything out of the game.

“We must fight tooth and nail and make sure we come off that pitch proud of the way we played.

“We know we will have to defend for long periods, as we had to last year when we made over 150 tackles against them and forced them into errors.

“We must put our bodies on the line and fight for everything and show the same total commitment. Our defence has got to give us the platform to win games and we need a similar intensity on Friday night.”

Full Story www.esherrugby.com

Seb Jewell will make his first Championship start for London Welsh against his former club Esher in tonight’s derby game at Molesey Road

Jewell came off the bench in the Exiles’ 34-23 win over Nottingham, having kicked three conversions on his debut for Welsh in their British & Irish Cup win over London Scottish.

His first Championship start, though, since joining Welsh in the summer, will come at the club he spent three seasons during his time at Wasps and Harlequins. Indeed, his 23 tries helped the club win promotion to the Championship in 2009/10 and he scored a further 25 points for Esher last season.

Jewell lines up at inside centre and is one of ten changes, including two positional, made by London Welsh head coach Lyn Jones from the side that beat Nottingham at Old Deer Park last Saturday.

There’s a first start for Joe Ajuwa, with Will Hurrell switching from the right to left wing, while Rob Lewis comes back into the side at scrum half. It’s all change in the front row as Jones names Dan George at hooker and Greg Bateman at tighthead, with James Tideswell moving to loosehead.

Martin Purdy makes his first Championship start of the season, having come off the bench against Nottingham, with Ben Russell another to make his first Championship start of the season, at blindside flanker.

Russell comes in for club captain Jon Mills, with vice captain Gordon Ross taking over the captain’s armband for the trip to Molesey Road.

London Welsh may be third in the table, with three wins from their opening four Championship games while Esher are still searching for their first win of the league season, but the Exiles will be taking nothing for granted on Friday evening.


Esher Rugby
15 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 14 Jonny Hylton, 13 Tom Loizides, 12 Andy Wright, 11 Charlie Walker
10 Richard Mill, 9 Andy Garner, 8 Chris Goodman, 7 Sam Stitcher. 6 Peter Synnott
5 Ian Kench, 4, Matt Symons, 3 James Gethings, 2 Stuart Mackie, 1 Robin Boot

Ollie Mines, Simon Edwards, Shawn Renwick, James Doherty, Mike MacFarlane, Charlie Ingall, Rob Kirby

London Welsh
15. Edd Thrower, 14. Joe Ajuwa, 13. Hudson Tonga’uiha, 12. Seb Jewell, 11. Will Hurrell
10. Gordon Ross ©, 9. Rob Lewis, 1. James Tideswell, 2. Dan George, 3. Greg Bateman
4. Adam Brown, 5. Martin Purdy, 6. Ben Russell, 7. Mike Denbee, 8. Ed Jackson.

16. Vili Ma’asi, 17. Guillermo Roan, 18. Gary Johnson, 19. Epi Taione
20. Ben Stevenson, 21. Alex Davies, 22. Paul Mackey.

Nottingham v Rotherham Titans 19:45

Nottingham Rugby are set for a showdown with Rotherham Titans at Meadow Lane tonight and will be hoping for a win to boost their Championship run.

After two tough matches last week the squad are fully prepared to take on the visiting side, who currently sit two points ahead of them in the table.

Director of Rugby, Glenn Delaney, said: “We are coming together nicely and the key thing is to do our basics well. We need to improve this aspect but cohesion comes after hard work and tough matches, which is what we are experiencing.

“The team has worked hard this week for what we anticipate will be a very physical match. Rotherham are a quality side as evidenced by their win over Bedford last week.

“Set phase will be massively important this week but we aim to play with plenty of width as per normal. If you don't move Rotherham around the park it will be a very tough day.”


NO More yellow cards: that’s the message from Rotherham coach Andre Bester as the Titans head into this evening’s match.

In the four league games so far, Rotherham’s indiscipline has resulted in a yellow card being issued in every match which is why Bester, delighted with the performance against Bedford last Saturday, has had more than enough.

Bester is unlikely to make any changes to his Titans squad at a ground where they have struggled in recent seasons.

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk

 Rotherham Titans make just two changes to the starting 15 that beatBedfordlast time out, as they prepare for the difficult away challenge at Nottingham.

Coming in on the right wing and making his Championship debut for Rotherham is Tom Foden, he replaces Peter Homan. Foden’s inclusion sees Shane Monahan switch to the left flank. In the front row Ben Harris makes his first league start of the campaign to give the in form Jamie Kilbane a rest.

After sustaining two narrow away defeats this season Rotherham will endeavour to chalk up a long awaited victory on the road. However this will not be an easy task as Nottingham are expected to be challenging at the very top end of the table, after finishing a respectable 5 th  last term.

The overall head to head between the clubs sees Rotherham hold a narrow 9-7 advantage, although the South Yorkshiremen have only tasted victory twice in Nottingham. The last time being back in March 2007 when tries from Jannie Bornman, Hendrie Fourie and Brian Tuohy saw them home by 27-8.

Titans head coach Andre Bester acknowledged the size of the task when saying,“Nottingham are one of the top teams in the Championship and will provide us with a stern challenge. But we are starting to show the cohesion and progression through our processes and as a result we are confident going into the Nottingham game.”


Ryan Bower, Joe Duffey , Ben Prescott, Lee Morley, Nic Rouse
Craig Hammond (c), Tom Armes, Alex Shaw, Nathan Jones, Kieran Hallett
Mike Penn, Juan Pablo Socino, Ayoola Erinle, Joe Cobden, David Jackson

Jimmy Stevens, Matt Shields, Rupert Cooper, Jonny Baird
Finlay Barnham, Joe Munro, Dante Mama

15 Stephen Hamilton, 14 Tom Foden, 13 Byron Godfrey, 12 Palepoi Nonu, 11 Shane Monahan
10 Garry Law, 9 Matt Rhodes, 1 Ben Harris, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Rob O’Donnell
4 Neale Patrick, 5 Barney Maddison, 6 Robin Copeland, 7 Sean Dougall (Capt.), 8 Semisi Taulava

 Replacements From:
Dan Baines, Ben Hooper, Jamie Kilbane, Adrian Griffiths, Sam Dickinson,
Jimmy Williams, Cliffie Hodgson, Carl Kirwan.

Saturday 1 October 2011

Bedford v Bristol 15:00

Bedford head into Saturday’s game knowing that they will have to put in a huge effort to overcome a resurgent Bristol side.

The Blues tasted defeat for the first time this season when they went down 40-32 at Rotherham last Saturday and Director of Rugby Mike Rayer is keen to see his players bounce straight back, but he also knows it won’t be easy.

Rayer said: "this week is really important to us, we need a response. Bristol look a very strong all round outfit, so it is the right type of game for us to have after the disappointment of last Saturday.

“I can't speak highly enough of the attitude of the lads in training this week. There was no one hurting more than them after Rotherham. The preparation has been good and they are all looking forward to the challenge of Bristol"

A knock to Dave Vincent rules the winger out of Saturday’s clash but he is replaced by Mark Kohler while there is a first start in the Championship for Jake Sharp who comes in for Jamie Lennard

The only other changes see Dan Seal start in place of Phil Boulton at tight head while Josh Bassett comes in as a replacement with Duncan taylor injured.


Liam Middleton makes four changes from the side that beat Plymouth Albion as Bristol Rugby travel to Goldington Road to face high-flying Bedford Blues on Saturday (3pm KO).

Tristan Roberts is named at fly-half, while Ben Mosses starts in place of Junior Fatialofa. The dual-registered 20 year-old from Bath Rugby, who replaced the injured Fatialofa last weekend, will make his first start in the RFU Championship alongside Jack Tovey in the Bristol midfield.

In the forwards, captain Iain Grieve returns after recovering from an ear infection and Rhys Lawrence starts ahead of Ross Johnston, who misses out after failing to recover in time from a knock sustained during training.

Tom Channon features in the 22-man squad for the first time this season, while Jon Goodridge is also named among the replacements.


Bedford Blues
15. Brendan Burke 14. Handre Schmidt 13. Ollie Dodge 12. Tom Bedford 11. Mark Kohler
10. Jake Sharp 9. Darryl Veenendaal
1. Nico Steenkamp 2. Neil Cochrane 3. Dan Seal 4. Sean Tomes 5. Paul Tupai
6. Alex Rae 7. Sacha Harding 8. Jon Fisher

16. Chris Locke, 17. Sam Walsh, 18. Billy Johnson, 19. Sam Pailor
20. Stefan Liebenberg, 21. Jamie Lennard, 22. Josh Bassett

Bristol Rugby 
Sean Marsden; George Watkins, Jack Tovey, Ben Mosses, Matt Williams
Tristan Roberts, Tom Slater; Mark Irish, Rhys Lawrence, Jason Hobson
Mariano Sambucetti, Roy Winters, Josh Ovens, James Merriman, Iain Grieve (c).

Tom Channon, Wayne Thompson, Darren Barry, Dan Montagu
Marco Mama, Louis Silver, Jon Goodridge.

Plymouth Albion v Cornish Pirates 15:00

ALL eyes will be on Brickfields tomorrow where Plymouth Albion entertain their West Country rivals the Cornish Pirates

Albion have a 100 per cent record at home this season, while new league leaders the Pirates are unbeaten in all competitions this term.

Something will have to give tomorrow and Albion's chairman of rugby Graham Dawe believes that is going to make for a great spectacle.

"I think you will see live Championship rugby at its best on Saturday," said Dawe.

"There will be a highly charged atmosphere inside the ground and the game is going to be intense.

Devon-Cornwall battles are always great and I think there will be a lot of interest in this game, coming so early in the season."

Albion do have a good home record against the Pirates. They have only lost two of the 10 league meetings on Plymouth soil, although the Pirates did narrowly win 10-6 on their last trip over the Tamar in January.

Albion hand a full league debut to former Blackheath winger Tyson Lewis after he scored eight tries last week in two development games and a British & Irish Cup match.

Lock Dan Collier and prop David Morton have recovered from injuries to return to Albion's team, but fellow forwards Herbie Stupple and Jon Vickers are still ruled out.

Albion are waiting on fitness test to fly-halves Paul Bailey, Henry Slade and Mark Lee. Lee and Slade missed last week's trip to Bristol due to knee and back injuries respectively, while Bailey had to come off with an ankle injury.

Canadian internationals Aaron Carpenter and Tyler Hotson are still away at the World Cup, but the duo could be back at Albion next week if Canada do not beat New Zealand on Sunday.

Albion could have six teenagers involved in their squad tomorrow and Dawe hopes experienced players like Keni Fisilau, Sean-Michael Stephen and Wayne Sprangle will continue to lead from the front.

"They have been leading the way all season, and I don't see this game being any different," said Dawe.


CORNISH Pirates will welcome back influential fly-half Jonny Bentley for tomorrow's derby match.

The New Zealander has not featured yet this season after having an operation during the summer.

But Bentley is set to come back into the team, with Ceiron Thomas dropping down to the bench.

The Pirates will be without former Albion prop Alan Paver, who has been allowed to join Exeter Chiefs on loan. His place is set to be taken by fit-again Rudi Brits.

Full Story www.thisisplymouth.co.uk

Plymouth Albion
J Love, M McGrath, B Armitage, K Fisilau, T Lewis
A N Other, R Cushion, D Morton, G Evans, R Dugard
D Collier, A Lockley, S-M Stephen, W Sprangle, J Tyas.

Reps (from):
D Farnham, J Nowell, C Mitchell, A N Other, R Hopkins, D McGregor, S Hocking, D Lee.

Cornish Pirates: 
D. Doherty, R. McAtee, G. Pointer, T. Cooper, W. Davies
J. Bentley, G. Cattle (capt), B. Maidment, C. Walker-Blair, K. Marriott
M. Smith, L. McGlone, R. Brits, D. Ward, C. Rimmer.

P. Andrew, R. Elloway, I. Nimmo, C. Morgan, T. Kessell, C. Thomas, S. Hill.

Sunday 2 October 2011

Leeds Carnegie v Doncaster 15:00

Brett Davey has announced his squad for the all Yorkshire clash with Leeds Carnegie at Headingley this Sunday.

The Knights are buoyed by the return to action of long serving hooker, Steve Boden and crowd favourite Chris Planchant who claims the number eight jersey for his first start of the season since his re-arrival from Pontefract.

Whilst local lad Tom Davies also returns to the starting line-up after fully recovering from an early season injury having scored the last minute winner against London Scottish last weekend off the bench.

An injury to Andy Boyde keeps the ex-England Under 19 skipper, out of the line-up for the derby with his former club allowing Leinster recruit Michael Noone to take his place in the substitutes.

Davey is not underestimating Leeds despite the Headingley club’s poor start to the season and is keen to prove the Knights can perform away from Castle Park.

“It will be a tough game, they had a poor result at Pirates but we know they’re better than their last performance - it’s a local derby, a big game, and we need to maintain our momentum.

“It could be a tight first half since we both like to open up in the second period, they’re a young, fit side but so are we and we have to keep on coming at them from the first minute until the last.”

He described the game, which is the first of four all-Yorkshire league battles for the Knights this season, as a ‘showcase’ for rugby union in the county and expects the home grown players in his squad to rouse the passions of the team for the occasion.


Steve Hossack wrting in the Star says: Knights’ centre OIlie Goss is relishing the opportunity to shine on the biggest stage in Championship rugby in Sunday’s Yorkshire derby against Leeds at Headingley.

Goss missed all three of the club’s pre-season games following a shoulder operation and had to settle for a place on the bench - coming on in the second half of both - in the club’s opening two games against Bristol and Cornish Pirates.

But his performances off the bench, coupled to Tom Luke’s switch to fly-half, has seen Goss make the No 13 shirt his own in the last three games

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk

Doncaster Knights
15 David McIlwaine 14 Dougie Flockhart 13 Ollie Goss 12 PJ Gidlow 11 Michael Keating
10 Tom Luke 9 Chris Hallam 1 Tom Davies 2 Steve Boden 3 Alex Brown
4 Matt Challinor 5 Glen Kenworthy 6 Latu Makaafi 7 Zack Farivarz 8 Chris Planchant

16 Andy Brown 17 Royce Burke-Flynn 18 Dom Parsons 19 Michael Noone
20 David Bradford 21 Lee Audis 22 Mike Whitehead

Leeds Carnegie
15. Tommy Bell 14. Ollie Richards 13. Iain Thornley 12. Scott Barrow 11. Lee Blackett
10. Joe Barker 9. Robbie Shaw 1. Gareth Denman 2. Andy Titterrell 3. Phil Swainston
4. Richard Beck 5. Jon Pendlebury 6. Jacob Rowan 7. Chris Walker 8. Ryan Burrows

16. Scott Freer 17. Sam Lockwood 18. David Young 19. Sean Hohneck
20. Alex Rieder 21. Dan White 22. Joe Ford


London Scottish v Moseley 14:00

London Scottish have made a few enforced changes to the team to face Moseley on Sunday (2pm Kick off).

Centre Ben MacDougall (hamstring), Scrum-Half/Head Coach Simon Amor (Hand) and Full Back John Bordiss (Internal) were all injured during the narrow defeat at Doncaster Knights last time out.

Bordiss’ injury was especially serious. Having been rushed to hospital during the game after suffering from a perforated bowel, he underwent an immediate operation and is currently recovering. London Scottish’s thanks go out to all that assisted him, both at Doncaster Knights and also at the hospital.

In their places, there are returns to the starting line up for Olli Grove, who scored the winning try in Scottish’s opening day victory over Rotherham Titans, scrum-half Matt Heeks, and Championship debut for Tim Holgate – a player who saw regular action in the National League 1 title-winning squad from last season.

All of the squad are eager to recapture the mood of the 27 game winning run that saw them promoted in the final game of last season. With two fixtures over the next two weeks against teams who are in close proximity to them in the table, it is important that Scottish take their chances.

Following the narrow defeat last weekend, Head Coach Simon Amor said this week “We had a very good start to the game, but one thing we must learn as a group is to add consistency in our performance and decision making at critical times. We’re looking forward to putting that right this weekend. We need to harness the highs in our game and extend them across the full 80 minutes. With this in place we’ll be a side that is very hard to beat.”


After a bonus-point victory against Esher at home last week-end Moseley travel to London with an unchanged squad for the clash with newly promoted London Scottish.

This fixture is resumed after a gap of several years. Traditionally it has been fiercely contested, no more so than during the decade between 1970-1980, when arguably both Clubs were close to their zenith.

Coach Kevin Maggs stood firmly behind his team’s second-half performance last week, when declaring that they deserved another chance. “Although we stopped working after scoring early against Esher, we stepped up a gear after the break and played with the intensity that we demand of ourselves. We need to repeat this more consistently, and I am looking forwards to a high tempo game against Scottish”.


London Scottish
15. Oli Grove 14. Tim Holgate 13. Rodd Penney 12. Gary Trueman © 11. David Howells
10. Dan Mugford 9. Matt Heeks
8. Mark Bright 7. Anthony Andrews 6. Ollie Brown 5. Josh Thomas Brown 4. Steve Pape
3. Lewis Thiede 2. Adam Kwasnicki 1. Alex Clarke

16. Nick Auterac 17. Tom Standfield 18. Alex MacKenzie 19. Ben Thomas
20. James Kellard 21. Jamie Stevenson 22. Craig Ratford

01 Colin Quigley.; 02.Adam Caves; 03. Anthony O’donnell; 04. Dan Sanderson; 05. Paul Spivey
06.Neil Mason; 07. Michael Maltman; 08. Michael Ellery; 09. Sam Brown; 10. Bradley Davies
11. Bradley Hunt; 12.Andy Reay; 13. Greg King; 14. William Robinson; 15. Anthony Carter

16. Charley Thomas; 17. Craig Voisey; 18.Tom Warren; 19. Richard Stott;
20. Jack Adams; 21. Oliver Thomas; 22. Ryan Glynn