RFU Championship News


RFU Championship News 14th September


RFU Championship News Friday 14th September 2012

Round 3 Teams & Previews
Plus news and comment from around the clubs and what the papers say.

Friday 14 September 2012
Newcastle v Doncaster 20:00

Saturday 15 September 2012
Bedford v London Scottish 15:00
Jersey v Moseley 15:00
Plymouth Albion v Leeds Carnegie 15:00

Sunday 16 September 2012
Bristol v Cornish Pirates 15:15
Nottingham v Rotherham Titans 15:00

Newcastle Falcons v Doncaster Knights Friday 20:00

Newcastle Falcons Doncaster Knights Newcastle v Doncaster
Friday 14th September 2012
Kingston Park
Kick Off 8pm

Newcastle Falcons

Rory Lawson is handed his first start of the season for tonight's showdown with Doncaster Knights at Kingston Park

The experienced scum-half replaces the injured Chris Pilgrim who is ruled out for the remainder of the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligaments during last weekend's win at London Scottish.

Lawson's inclusion is one of six changes as Dean Richards' men eye three wins in a row as the revolution continues on Tyneside.

James Fitzpatrick gets his chance to shine at inside centre while Fijian international Waisea Luveniyali occupies the fly-half berth with Jimmy Gopperth moving to full-back.

Luke Fielden, who is joint top try scorer with Ally Hogg after notching up three tries, switches to the wing replacing the injured Ryan Shortland.

A new front row combination of Jonny Golding, Matt Thompson and Oliver Tomaszczyk will take to the field while the exuberant Scott MacLeod gets the nod in the second-row.

After conceding four tries in the capital last weekend albeit winning the game, Falcons boss Richards has urged his side to cut out the complacency.

He said: The fact that there was some complacency in our game last week really hurt the boys as well as the coaches, and we have to strive for better things than what we showed against London Scottish.

"The players came off the field far more disappointed than I thought they would and it was almost as if we had lost the game rather than winning with seven tries – there shouldn't be any room for complacency."

Richards, who has guided his new charges to victory in their opening two league games is looking forward to the notorious Kingston Park atmosphere.

"I love the atmosphere on a Friday night at Kingston Park and it makes it very difficult for the opposition to come here and play," said Richards.

He added: "It is a wonderful atmosphere and it can have an effect on some visiting players but when I came here as a player I would just walk out onto the pitch and put every other distraction out of my mind."

Doncaster Knights

Brett Davey has named a side with few tactical changes to the one that came close against Bristol last week, the only alteration being Will Simpson and James Tincknell swapping their position in the centres.

Injuries have forced a couple of other changes to the side, Chris Hallam and Jerry Cronin both start as Louis Silver and Tom Davies recover from knocks. Director of Rugby, Davey knows his men will have to be at their best to compete with a side that have hit the ground running in their first Championship season.

“We knew that the first four games of the season were going to be tough; three away from home including taking on arguably the league’s top two sides.

“Against Bristol we played well and I’d like to build on that performance on Friday, we know it’s going to be a tough ask, the depth and quality of Newcastle’s squad is very high, but we’ll go there with confidence and try to play our brand of rugby.

“If we can do things well and we understand what we’re trying to achieve then we’ll give them a decent contest.”

Newcastle Falcons:
5 Jimmy Gopperth, 14 Luke Fielden, 13 Tane Tu'ipulotu, 12 James Fitzpatrick
11 Andy Higgins, 9 Rory Lawson, 10 Waisea Luveniyali,
1 Jonny Golding, 2 Matt Thompson, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Scott MacLeod,
5 James Hudson, 6 Richard Mayhew, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ally Hogg

16 Rob Vickers, 17 James Hall, 18 Sean Tomes, 19 Mark Wilson
20 Jordi Pasqualin, 21 Joel Hodgson, 22 Alex Crockett

Doncaster Knights:
15) Dougie Flockhart 14) Dante Mama 13) Will Simpson 12) James Tincknell
11) Tyson Lewis 10) Jamie Lennard 9) Chris Hallam
1) Brian McGovern 2) Rhys Buckley 3) Jerry Cronin 4) Royce Cadman
5) Phil Hoy 6) Matt Challinor © 7) Jethro Rawling 8) Adam Kettle.

16) Andy Brown, 17) Ben Sowery, 18) Andy Boyde, 19) David Bradford
20) Sam Pailor 21) James Munro, 22) Tom Barrett

What The Papers Say

The Journal
Newcastle back rower,Richard Mayhew, insists the Falcons must resist the urge to go off-piste during Friday’s visit of Doncaster.

Speaking about Newcastle's slip-shod second half at Scottish last week, Mayhew said: “We did good things, especially in attack, but the number of points we leaked is a work-on.

“Looking after the ball and not trying anything too fancy was what we were after, and the direct approach seemed to be working.

“When we went away from that we started to struggle, and if we take a lesson from the day then that would be it.”

Full Story www.journallive.co.uk

The Star
Doncaster Knights boss Brett Davey believes his players can learn a lot from what will be their toughest trip of the season.

He told The Star: "Newcastle away is the toughest fixture all season but it's an opportunity for some of our players to play in front of a big crowd and to play our own game.

"They have players there that are a long way in front of other players in the league but we can learn some lessons and be ok. I don't believe in going up there to try and spoil their game because we can show what we're capable of."

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk

Other News

Newcastle Falcons scrum half Chris Pilgrim will be out for the remainder of the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligaments in Saturday’s RFU Championship victory at London Scottish.

Pilgrim, 26 has made a good start to the campaign, helping the Falcons to maximum points in their opening two league games.

Director of rugby Dean Richards said: “We are obviously very disappointed as he has had a great start to the season and it is bitterly disappointing for him.”

Pilgrim, who joined the Falcons from Nottingham in the summer of 2009, has set his sights on a swift recovery.

He said: “I was really excited to continue my form into the rest of the campaign and I am really disappointed to be out for the season.

“These things happen in rugby and my aim is to come back stronger and better than before. I will now undergo a six month rehabilitation programme and I will be around the club offer help and support wherever I can.”

Bedford v London Scottish Saturday 15:00

Bedford Blues London Scottish Bedford v London Scottish
Saturday 14th September
Goldington Road
Kick Off 3pm

Bedford Blues

Eight points from two games is nothing to be sniffed at, but Bedford Blues will be hoping to return to winning ways when they welcome London Scottish to Goldington Road on Saturday afternoon.

Having recorded a 50-6 opening day win over Moseley, the Blues travelled to Rotherham last Sunday where a 38-38 draw saw both teams walk away with three points.

Bedford have no new injury worries going into the game against Simon Amor’s men and welcome back James Stephenson, Mark Atkinson and Tom Armes who have all recovered from minor knocks.

Taking time out from their final training session on Thursday night, Blues coach Matt Volland said: “The game against Rotherham was extremely attritional as we knew it would be, and with a shorter turnaround we have the chance to rotate things a little and take advantage of the depth of the squad available to us.

“We’ve already see that London Scottish are a well organised unit who picked up a win against Rotherham in their opening game and then gave Newcastle a run for their money last week.

We are under no illusion about the task that lays ahead but the lads have prepared extremely well this week and the 22 are looking forward to game time on Saturday.”

Only six players who were in the starting line-up at Clifton Lane on Sunday – James Pritchard, Ollie Dodge, Jake Sharp, Ricky Reeves, Mike Howard and Ben Gulliver - start the game against London Scottish while there are Blues debuts for Mark Atkinson who starts at inside centre and Tom Armes who replaces Don Barrell at number eight.

Dual registered players Ben Ransom and Scott Spurling both get their first starts of the season while Darryl Veenendaal, Ben Cooper and Darren Fox are also named in the starting XV.

London Scottish

After securing a try bonus point against Newcastle Falcons last weekend, London Scottish are ready for their first away trip of the 2012/13 RFU Championship.

Club captain Lewis Calder starts his first game of the season whilst wing David Howells is promoted from the bench. Prop Colin Quigley, signed from Moseley in the summer, takes his place on the bench in anticipation of his first appearance for the club.

Mark Bright, inspirational against Newcastle, will continue to lead the side.

Bedford Blues
15. James Pritchard (c) 14. James Stephenson 13. Ben Ransom 12. Mark Atkinson
11. Ollie Dodge 10. Jake Sharp 9. Darryl Veenendaal
1. Ricky Reeves 2. Scott Spurling 3. Ben Cooper 4. Mike Howard
5. Ben Gulliver 6. Alex Rae 7. Darren Fox 8. Tom Armes

16. Neil Cochrane, 17. Dan Seal, 18. Paul Tupai, 19. Gregor Gillanders
20. Luke Baldwin, 21. Ian Vass, 22. Brendan Burke

London Scottish
15 Jim Thompson, 14 James Love, 13 Dave McCall, 12 PJ Gidlow
11 David Howells 10 Oli Grove 9 Richard Bolt
1 Alex Clarke 2 Adam Kwasnicki 3 Alex MacKenzie 4 Sam Twomey
5 Tyler Hotson 6 Chevvy Pennycook 7 Lewis Calder 8 Mark Bright (c)

16 Mungo Strachan 17 Colin Quigley 18 Josh Thomas Brown 19 James Kellard
20 Ross Samson 21 Dan Mugford 22 Miles Mantella

What The Papers Say

Bedford Today
Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer was unhappy with his team’s first half performance against the Titans and although he took heart from the way they battled back after the break, he has decided to make adjustments.

“There will be changes,” he said. “We are trying to get everyone into the mix without making wholesale changes.

“There might be few more than I would of wanted this week, but we have to send a message out to the group"

Full Story www.bedfordtoday.co.uk

Jersey v Moseley Saturday 15:00

Jersey Rugby Moseley Jersey v Moseley
Saturday 14th September
St Peter
Kick Off 3pm


Jersey have confirmed the signings of Barry Davies and Ed Tellwright, boosting the Islanders’ squad in the club’s first season in the RFU Championship.

The pair signed on Thursday ahead of this clash with Moseley at St Peter.

Full-back Davies, 31, played for Llanelli, Brive and most recently the Ospreys as well as winning a Welsh cap in the RBS 6 Nations game against Ireland in 2006. He won three Celtic League titles during his time in Wales and played 11 times for the Ospreys in 2011/12, scoring two tries.

Tellwright is a 23-year-old winger who played for Rotherham Titans in the Championship last season, making 13 appearances and scoring two tries, including one against Moseley. He has also played for England Students and won the Middlesex Sevens with the Samurai invitational side in 2010.

Jersey Director of Rugby Ben Harvey admitted he had been looking to strengthen his squad and was delighted to have captured two players of genuine talent.

“I have been looking to bring greater strength to the squad – the Championship is a physical league and in addition we lost Richard Haughton to Perpignan,” he said. “Barry is a proven talent whose experience in Wales and France will be invaluable to our young squad.

“Ed has genuine pace and real potential to take his career on to the next level, and he will be an important asset to Jersey rugby as we become established in the Championship.”

Tellwright comes straight into a Jersey starting XV showing three changes from the trip to Headingley in round two. The new boy slots in on the wing, with Mike Le Bourgeois switching to centre in place of the injured Tom Cooper.

In the pack, Sean McCarthy earns a start at loose-head in place of Richard Barrington after impressing as a replacement in the opening games, while Kingsley Lang gets the nod at blind-side ahead of Talite Vaoileti.


There are just three changes to the Moseley side which lost at home to Nottingham last week. Billy Robinson comes into the three-quarters for his first start of the season, at scrum-half Alex Day gives way to Sam Brown, and Ollie Thomas takes the place of the suspended Anthony Carter at full-back.

With both sides losing their opening matches this is sure to be a nerve-jangling affair.

The Moseley starting line-up has remained remarkably constant since the opening day of the season, and it is clear that Coach Kevin Maggs is prepared to give more time to allow his many new players to become bedded in to new systems and patterns of play.

 “We are not far away from where we want to be”, he said.

“We anticipate Saturday’s match to be a huge challenge given the excellent home record Jersey have enjoyed in recent years. Nonetheless if we can retain possession a little more consistently than we did last week we will have a big chance of getting a result”.

1 Sean McCarthy 2 Steve Boden 3 Ben Evans 4 Nathan Hannay (capt)
5 Dave Markham 6 Kingsley Lang 7 Guy Thompson 8 Nick Trower
9 Nicky Griffiths 10 Ross Broadfoot 11 James Copsey 12 Mike Le Bourgeois
13 Donovan Sanders 14 Ed Tellwright 15 Glenn Bryce

16 Dave Felton 17 James Gethings 18 Rob Anderson 19 Fred Silcock
20 Talite Vaoileti  21 Brendan O’Brien 22 Ashley Maggs

1. Ethan Waller; 2.Adam Caves; 3. Craig Voisey; 4.Addison Lockley
5.Mike Powell 6.Neil Mason; 7.Ben Pons; 8.Ben Pienaar
9. Sam Brown; 10.Glynn Hughes; 11. Anders Mogenson; 12.Charlie Hayter;
13. William Robinson; 14.Simon Hunt; 15. Oliver Thomas

16.Sam Wilkes;17. Buster Lawrence; 18.Chaz Meddick; 19.Oliver Robinson
20. Alex Day; 21. Brad Davies; 22. Brad Hunt

What The Papers Say

Birmingham Post
Kevin Maggs has praised flanker Ben Pons for his excellent start to the season but also challenged the back rower to maintain his form throughout the whole campaign.

Pons’s form has been one of the highlights of an otherwise disappointing first couple of games which have resulted in defeats to Bedford and Nottingham.

A feature of those team performances has been the fact a much-changed line-up has not yet gelled.

Full Story www.birminghampost.net

Plymouth Albion v Leeds Carnegie Saturday 15:00

Plymouth Albion Leeds Carnegie Plymouth Albion v Leeds Carnegie
Saturday 8th September
Kick Off 3pm

Plymouth Albion

Albion will be hoping to complete a Yorkshire double tomorrow when they entertain Leeds at Brickfields.

Nat Saumi's side overcame Doncaster in their opening home match of the season before losing 19-17 to a late penalty at the Cornish Pirates last Sunday.

Despite last week's defeat, Saumi felt there were plenty of positives to take from the game and he is hopeful his side can make it two home wins out of two against Leeds.

"The boys are looking forward to this game," said Albion's head coach. "They know they did well last Saturday despite losing to the Pirates and everyone is positive.

"We beat Leeds down here last year and we will try and give them another good game this time around."

Albion make five changes to their team that came so close to beating the Pirates at Mennaye Field.

Rhodri McAtee, Paul Bailey and Herbie Stupple are injured and are replaced by Tom Bowen, Toby Howley-Berridge and Rupeni Nasiga.

The other changes see Lloyd Fairbrother and Ruairi Cushion return to the starting line-up.

Leeds Carnegie

Head Coach Diccon Edwards has made five changes to his side to face Plymouth Albion this week.

Two of the changes are enforced by injury with Stevie McColl ruled out with the heel injury he suffered in the win over Jersey last Friday whilst prop Ben Harris injured his ankle in training.

Edwards has rotated his scrum halves around with Craig Hampson getting the chance to start in the number nine shirt.

There are two changes in the front row with Edwards rotating his props and giving Damien Tussac the chance to start after two strong appearances off the bench whilst Sam Lockwood has recovered from the injury that kept him out for the opening two weeks of the season.

The final change comes in the second row with Calum Green regaining his place in the starting XV.

There is a first appearance of the season for Chris Walker on the bench as he comes in for Dominic Barrow, who has been suffering from illness this week and unable to play a full part in training.

15 Louis Messer, 14 Jack Arnott, 13 Toby Howley-Berridge, 12 Bevon Armitage,
1 Tom Bowen, 10 Paul Roberts
9 Ruairi Cushion, 1 Jack Andrew, 2 Jon Vickers, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 4 Brett Beukeboom
5 Rupeni Nasiga, 6 Sean-Michael Stephen, 7 Sam Hocking, 8 Aaron Carpenter.

16 Paul Rowley, 17 Henry Slade, 18 Keni Fisilau, 19 Dave Morton
20 Tom Cowan-Dickie, 21 Harrison Tovey, 22 Ien Ascroft-Leigh

Leeds Carnegie
15. David Doherty 14. Curtis Wilson 13. Josh Griffin 12. Fred Burdon
11. Pete Lucock 10. Joe Ford 9. Craig Hampson
1. Sam Lockwood 2. Phil Nilsen 3. Damien Tussac 4. Calum Green
5. Mike Myerscough 6. Richard Beck 7. Jacob Rowan (c) 8. Ryan Burrows

16. Joe Graham 17. Lee Imiolek 18. Ben Hooper 19. Dan Hemingway
20. Chris Walker 21. James Doherty 22. Jamel Chisholm

What The Papers Say

The Herald
Albion also make two unenforced changes, with Lloyd Fairbrother replacing David Morton at prop and Ruairi Cushion taking over from fellow Irishman Paul Rowley at scrum-half.

Albion coach Nat Saumi said: "Dave [Morton] did a tremendous job last week. He can play either side of the scrum and we know his capabilities. But it will be good to see how Jack [Andrew] goes with Lloyd [Faibrother].

"We want to give Jack another game. Players need at least two games. Cush [Ruairi Cushion] also needs a game”

Full Story www.thisisdevon.co.uk

Other News

Historic pitch reconstruction set for Headingley Carnegie

The oldest pitch in elite British sport is set to be replaced after it was announced that the rugby pitch at Headingley Carnegie Stadium is to be replaced.

The pitch, which dates back to the opening of the stadium in 1890, was last relayed in 1963 when Headingley became the first club ground in British sport to install undersoil heating.

However, work will begin on 8th October to dig out the old pitch and drainage to be replaced by a modern surface and infrastructure. The project will cost around £1 million and is due for completion for the beginning of December.

The work will see a full reconstruction of the playing surface to a depth of 450mm this will include new drainage system, gravel drainage layer, undersoil heating pipes, lower root zone level, upper root zone level and finally 40mm reinforced fibre turf complimented with a state of the art irrigation system supplied by Toro.

The Stadium's team will be working with Clive Richardson International Limited, who have recently carried out similar work at the Aviva Stadium and Croke Park in Dublin and are currently working with the Bundesliga to improve their club pitches in Germany and many leagues within Europe.

The pitch will have 3G Artificial surrounds with the pitch area set at 68m wide by 100m long and 6m in goals at either end.

The old posts, which are currently concreted in place and were installed in the late 1970s when they were actually lifted into place by the squad of the time, will be removed and replaced by a modern set that can be removed easily for renovation work.

The club's chaplain Rev Steve Mitchell will be arranging a service of remembrance on the pitch before the works begin to remember those who had their ashes scattered on the pitch over the years, more details of which the club will announce in due course.

More On This Story At www.leedscarnegie.com

Bristol v Cornish Pirates Saturday Sunday 15:15

Bristol Rugby Cornish PiratesBristol v Cornish Pirates
Saturday 8th September
Memorial Ground
Kick Off 3:15pm

Live On SKY Sports


Bristol Rugby

Matt Williams returns to the starting line-up as Bristol go in search of a first win at the Memorial Stadium against Cornish Pirates on Sunday .

The England Sevens flyer recovers from a hamstring injury to take the place of Ryan Edwards, who misses out due to illness.

Williams’ inclusion is one of four changes from the side that beat Doncaster Knights last Friday.

James Grindal and Matthew Jones form a new-look half-back partnership, while Rhys Lawrence replaces the injured Ross Johnston at hooker.

James Merriman will remain as skipper with Iain Grieve included among the replacements.

Liam Middleton opts for a four forwards and three backs split with Tom Channon and Ben Mosses in the 22-man squad.

Cornish Pirates

After winning their two opening games against Jersey and Plymouth Albion, the Pirates travel to Bristol on Sunday keen to make it three wins on the trot.

Many will remember the Pirates 18-11 defeat of Bristol at the 'Mem' in February 2005, but victory there has eluded them since, so there's added incentive to strive for a winning result this weekend.

The Cornish Pirates side sees a number of changes from the team that won narrowly against Plymouth Albion.

Wes Davies makes a welcome return to fitness and is named at full-back in place of Rob Cook, who was on loan from Gloucester last Sunday, and Tom Kessell starts at scrum-half with Gavin Cattle dropping to the bench.

Lock David Lyons is named this week among the replacements, as Darren Barry comes back into the team to partner Gary Johnson in the second-row.

Flanker Kyle Marriott will captain the side.

Ben Maidment's brother Max, who made his debut for the Pirates as a second half replacement against Albion, is once again on the bench, where he will be joined this week by fit again back-rower Chris Morgan and  hooker Jack Yeandle, who signed for the Pirates this week on dual registration with Exeter Chiefs.

Bristol Rugby
Jon Goodridge; Mike Tagicakibau, Luke Eves, Jack Gadd,
Matt Williams; Matthew Jones, James Grindal
Kyle Traynor, Rhys Lawrence, Bruce Douglas, Ben Glynn, Roy Winters
Redford Pennycook, James Merriman (c), Mitch Eadie.

Tom Channon, Wayne Thompson, Glen Townson, Iain Grieve
Ruki Tipuna, Tristan Roberts, Ben Mosses.

Cornish Pirates:
W. Davies, T. Bedford, T. Riley, J. Fatialofa, M. Evans
K. Hallett, T. Kessell
B. Maidment, P. Burgess, K. Marriott (capt), G. Johnson
D. Barry, B. Prescott, R. Elloway, P. Andrew.

R. Storer, J. Yeandle, M. Maidment, D. Lyons
C. Morgan, G. Cattle, A. Penberthy.

What The Papers Say

The Post
Bristol head coach Liam Middleton has finally received some positive news on the injury front, with David McIlwaine, Matt Williams, James Grindal, Iain Grieve and Marco Mama all ready to return against Cornish Pirates on Sunday.

Bristol went into last week's 18-9 win at Doncaster without 14 players – 12 through injury and two who are yet to arrive in the country – and then lost hooker Ross Johnston to a knee problem.

But the return of five injured players gives Middleton some room to manoeuvre, selection-wise, for the first time this season.

"We have a few guys coming back who weren't available last week – but, except for Matt, they were our recent injuries, not the medium-termers," said Middleton.

Full Story  www.thisisbristol.co.uk

Other News

The Cornish Piratres squad has been further strengthened with the signing of hooker Jack Yeandle, on dual registration forms with Exeter Chiefs.

Exeter-born Jack, aged 22, is the fourth Exeter 'Chief' to head to Cornwall along with Dave Ewers, Sam Hill and Jack Nowell.

Yeandle, who played for Doncaster Knights last season, started his rugby at Crediton, as did Sam Hill and Kyle Marriott. He also represented England Students during his time at UWIC*.

Speaking about Jack’s signing, head coach Ian Davies said: “"I was first aware of Jack while he was studying at UWIC but as we already had three hookers in the squad we could not follow up our interest.

" Subsequently, when Dave Ward informed us he was signing at Quins I again spoke to Jack, but he had already signed with the Exeter Chiefs."

Davies added: " With his  background history, I am obviously delighted that we are now able to dual register Jack for this coming season, he has proven himself a strong physical presence both in the set piece and open play, so he is a welcome addition to our squad and we look forward to seeing him a Pirates shirt."

Nottingham v Rotherham Titans Sunday 15:00

Nottingham Rotherham Titans Rotherham v Bedford
Sunday 9th September
Clifton Lane
Kick Off 3pm

Nottingham Rugby

Stalwart David Jackson will re-claim the mantle as the Green and Whites’ most capped league player on Sunday.

The 30-year-old has been elevated to the starting XV for his milestone 267th appearance for the club, named on the wing for the RFU Championship match against Rotherham at Meadow Lane Stadium.

Jackson is no stranger to holding records, having long topped the league appearance list before being surpassed by former captain Craig Hammond last season.

When the evergreen back joined the action at Billesley Common last week, seeing out the 28-17 win over Moseley, he equalled his old skipper and close friend’s mark.

As Jackson prepares to start his first match of the season and first since Hammond left the club to take up a coaching post in Hong Kong, the man best known as ‘Jacko’ paid tribute to a teammate he considers a true club legend.

“I think it was fitting that Hamo left the club with the record, he made a huge impression on this club and city,” Jackson said.

“We played a majority of our games together and I loved playing with him by my side. But with any milestone like this, it comes with time. What I’m most focused on this week is getting that third win of the season against Rotherham.”

Nottingham head coach Martin Haag was proud to pay tribute to the ultimate one club man who first started playing in the green and white when he picked up a rugby ball as a mini.

“To play 267 games, let alone just in the league, is a fantastic achievement,” Haag said.

“What it does is show the loyalty he has to Nottingham and his desire to help us do well. I’m sure he is going to play the record down and will want to win this weekend’s game much more.

“It’s important on Sunday that we put in a performance that will do him proud.”

Jackson comes in to replace Mansfield up-and-comer Ryan Hough, forming part of a hugely experience backline which sees Tim Streather take his place in the centres ahead of last week’s two try performer Joe Cobden.

An eye injury has also forced Haag to shuffle his forward pack, with Michael Holford moving across to loosehead and dual registered Leicester Tiger Ryan Bower making his first start of the season.

Haag opts for a five forwards and two backs split with props Matt Shields and Tigers dual registered 21-year-old Jonny Harris named in the 22-man squad for the first time in the 2012/13 campaign.

Rotherham Titans

Titans have made four changes ahead of this clash with Nottingham .

The one change in the back line sees the impressive Joel Gill make his first Championship start; replacing Jimmy Williams at scrum half. In the front row Shane Cahill returns from injury and replaces Jamie Kilbane at loose head prop, whilst Ted Stagg is given the number 2 jersey, sending Dan Baines to the bench.

Rory Pitman also makes his first start for the Titans at number 8, a move that sees Alex Rieder shuffle across to blind side flank. In turn Barney Maddison drops back into the second row, replacing Dan Sanderson.

Looking ahead to what will be a difficult challenge, Titans Head Coach Andre Bester said, “We need to be bold in our approach, particularly in away matches. We’ve made no secret that I believe we have a better all round squad this year and that we’ve got a brilliant attitude. We have a very good blend of senior players alongside some very good younger players.

“Going to Nottingham this year is not going to be completely new territory for most of the players. Most of our guys have either played there before of have played at this or a higher level.

“We know we are a work in progress and that’s how it is when you are a new group. We’re aware that we are one of the relegation favourites and we keep that at the back of our mind, because we don’t like to have that tag. But it was the same as the start of last season, so we are getting used to people writing us off.

“Martin Haag has come in at Nottingham and he’s a very experienced coach, he’s been at Premiership level for a long time. He will have a very sound philosophy based on the values that he had at Bath and Nottingham have showed already this season they are a very good side, with their victories over Leeds and Moseley. The building blocks are in place at Nottingham for them to have another good season in the Championship.

“Nottingham has always been a very tough side and they’ve always been hard nosed and with Martin Haag coming in, he will add value to what they do. We expect nothing other than a well coached side when we take them on at the weekend.”

Nottingham Rugby
15 Andrew Savage 14 David Jackson 13 Tim Streather 12 Joe Munro
11 Rhys Crane 10 James Arlidge 9 Sean Romans
1 Michael Holford 2 Joe Duffey 3 Ryan Bower 4 Dan Montagu
5 Nic Rouse 6 Rupert Cooper 7 Brent Wilson 8 Alex Shaw.

16 Jimmy Stevens 17 Jonny Harris 18 Matt Shields 19 Joe Quinn
20 Tom Calladine 21 Finlay Barnham 22 Rory Lynn.

15 Mike Whitehead, 14 Eamonn Sheridan, 13 Lee Blackett (Capt.), 12 Pale Nonu
11 Peter Homan, 10 James McKinney, 9 Joel Gill
1 Shane Cahill, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Ross Davies, 4 Neale Patrick
5 Barney Maddison, 6 Alex Rieder, 7 Carl Kirwan, 8 Rory Pitman.

16 Dan Baines
17 & 18 Marshall Gadd/Jamie Kilbane/Simon Gardiner*
19 Dan Sanderson 20 Latu Makaafi, 21 Garry Law, 22 Jimmy Williams.

*Subject to the imminent birth of a child.

What The Papers Say

Nottingham Post
Nottingham Rugby are ready for their clash with the Titans, says head coach Martin Haag.

The Greens will be missing prop Matt Parr with an eye injury and Haag believes Rotherham, who are ninth, having lost to London Scottish and drawn with Bedford Blues in their opening two games, will pose a different challenge for his players than both Leeds and Moseley.

"Rotherham are a big, physical team," he said. "We have to make sure we play well.
"We have got to defend well and attack well because that will give us a good chance of winning the game.

Full Story www.thisisnottingham.co.uk

Guy Williams The Star
The Titans’ thrilling 38-38 draw against Bedford was watched by Nottingham’s Attack Coach Ged Glynn who observed every detail of Rotherham’s game plan at Clifton Lane last Sunday.

Glynn, a former Rotherham coach, is one of the game’s most astute analysts, and his presence at Rotherham’s first home match, followed by his reports this week, illustrates clearly how much more professional the Championship competition is becoming.

Interestingly, Rotherham have also spied on Nottingham; their opening game against Leeds Carnegie at Meadow Lane was watched by Titans’ representatives.

Full Story /www.thestar.co.uk

Titans are looking to bring in at least two new players — but only if the quality is right.

Despite looking a solid unit in Sunday’s 38-38 draw at home to powerful Bedford, coach Andre Bester has identified weaknesses in the squad and has begun a hunt for a new back rower and a new back.

“There are gaps in the squad that need to be plugged but we have to find the right players and it won’t just be a case of making quick signings,” he said.

Full Story www.rotherhamadvertiser.co.uk