RFU Championship News

Feb 15th

RFU Championship News


RFU Championship News

Round 16 Teams & Previews. Plus news and comment from around the clubs and what the papers say.

Round 16 Fixtures

Friday 15 February 2013
Newcastle v Moseley 20:00

Saturday 16 February 2013
Doncaster v Leeds 14:30
Jersey v Nottingham 15:00 POSTPONED
Plymouth Albion v Bedford 15:00

Sunday 17 February 2013
Bristol v Rotherham 15:00
Pirates v London Scottish 14:30

Newcastle Falcons v Moseley - Friday 20:00

Newcastle FalconsMoseleyNewcastle v Moseley 
Friday 15th February 
Kingston Park
Kick Off 8pm



Michael Tait gets his first league start of the campaign in tonight’s clash with Moseley at Kingston

The Kelso-born centre, who has recently been plying his trade for National League 1 outfit Tynedale in a bid to get back into first team contention, is one of three changes.

James Goode replaces James Hudson in the engine room, while Ally Hogg returns to the back-row after being side-lined with a knee injury. James Hudson and Alex Crockett both drop to the bench.

Billesley CommonFalcons director of rugby Dean Richards is expecting a tough challenge from a tenth place Moseley unit that were defeated 53-13 when the two sides met at Billesley Common last October.

“The score perhaps did not demonstrate it fully in the end, but for most of the afternoon down there Moseley gave us a really tough game,” said Richards, whose side are now just 13 points away from guaranteeing a play-off spot with their 100 per cent record still intact.

“We scored a couple of opportunist tries combined with some good team scores as the game went on, but it was a difficult assignment and we are not expecting anything easy when they come up here for the return leg,” he added.

Commenting on a series of key individuals that the West Midlands club have in their armoury, Richards said: “We have had a proper look at them, and they have some good players. Guys like Ben Pienaar and Charlie Hayter offer a lot, Neil Mason in the back-row has been around the circuit and they are a decent side.

“For parts of the season it just hasn’t clicked for them, which is a shame, but at some stage it is inevitable things will fall into place.“Hopefully that won’t be tomorrow.”

Kingston Park takes centre stage for a Falcons matchKingston Park takes centre stage for a Falcons match for the first time in over a month after heavy snow fall put paid to the Cornish Pirates match.

Richards is delighted with the return of Friday night rugby in Newcastle, adding: “Hopefully the weather will turn for us and give everyone a decent evening after a difficult few months, and it is nice to finally get a game on up here.

“We have had to put up with some horrendous conditions recently, and it would be nice to get a flat track and a bit of warmth because I feel a bit sorry for the players. They want to go out and play a bit of rugby, but it is tough when the weather is as bad as it has been.”

Newcastle Falcons:
15 Tom Catterick, 14 Andy Higgins, 13 Michael Tait, 12 Jamie Helleur
11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Rory Lawson
1 Jonny Golding, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 James Goode
5 Scott MacLeod, 6 Taiasina Tu’ifua, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ally Hogg

16 Matt Thompson, 17 James Hall, 18 James Hudson, 19 Ollie Stedman
20 Jordi Pasqualin, 21 Joel Hodgson, 22 Alex Crockett


After a water-logged pitch last Saturday meant that Moseley missed their only home fixture in February, the Birmingham side now have the unenviable task of a trip to the home of Championship leaders Newcastle Falcons.

Apart from missing last week's match, a week of snow and freezing temperatures in the Midlands has caused the red and blacks' training to be curtailed, giving a far from ideal preparation for the task on Friday evening.

When these two sides met at Billesley Common in the autumn the game was in the balance until after half-time when the Falcons' superior strength in depth told and their pragmatic use of replacements produced five points and a substantial winning margin.

Since then Moseley's form has improved and their squad has been somewhat strengthened, so although they travel north knowing they will have to produce a shock of seismic proportions to turn over the League leaders on their own ground, they do so without undue trepidation.

Moseley are expected to field an unchanged side from that selected for last week's postponed Bristol match.

1. Tom Warren; 2. Adam Caves; 3. Ben Evans; 4. Addison Lockley
5. Mike Powell; 6. Sam Dickinson; 7. Oliver Robinson; 8. Ben Pienaar
9. Sam Brown; 10. Glynn Hughes; 11. Simon Hunt
12. Anthony Carter; 13. Greg King; 14. Scott Armstrong; 15. Billy Robinson.

16. Sam Wilkes; 17. Danny Herriott; 18. Ben Pons; 19. Neil Mason
20. Buster Lawrence; 21. Ollie Thomas; 22. Brad Hunt

What The Papers Say

Mark (R) Smith, The Journal:- Moseley No Easy Task – Hogg

ALLY Hogg expects Moseley to be no pushovers this evening despite Newcastle Falcons winning by 40 points when the teams met in Birmingham four months ago.

Hogg revealed: “We have had a good look at Moseley on the videos this week, and they like to throw the ball around.. They play with width, and if the forecasts of a dry pitch turn out to be right it should turn into a decent game.”

Anticipating an energetic evening, the Scot added: “They seem to be playing a bit more expansively than they did previously, and with Kevin Maggs (the former Ireland centre) as their coach they obviously have a lot of experience there to count on.”

Full Story www.journallive.co.uk

Birmingham Mail - Brian Dick Talks To Moseley Flanker Neil Mason

Moseley talisman Neil Mason insists his side have improved since they last faced Championship favourites Newcastle Falcons.

Newcastle have barely missed a beat since then and, despite being made to work hard in a couple of matches, have won all 14 of their second-tier fixtures.

“The results speak for themselves, they have gone everywhere and won, even at places like Cornish Pirates where not many sides win,” he said.

“We have got to make sure we are in the game, though, and that’s all about defence. Some teams go up there and throw the ball around to try and score four tries but realistically against an ex-Premiership side scoring four tries is going to be hard. For us it’ll be about how we defend.”

Full Story www.birminghammail.co.uk

Doncaster Knights v Leeds Carnegie  - Saturday 14:30

Doncaster KnightsLeeds CarnegieDoncaster v Leeds 
Saturday 16th February 
Castle Park
Kick Off 3pm


Doncaster Knights

Clive Griffiths has made a couple of changes ahead of the highly anticipated Yorkshire Regiment Trophy and vital Championship clash against local rivals Leeds Carnegie at Castle Park on Saturday .

Tom LukePoints machine, Jamie Lennard returns to the starting line up at fly-half, with last week’s starting ten Tom Luke (pictured left) moving to the centres where he is partnered by the consistent Will Simpson.

In a number of changes to the backs, Connor Braid moves from outside centre to full-back where he impressed so heavily on debut against Jersey at Castle Park last November.

Last season’s top try scorer and influential playmaker Michael Keating slots back onto the wing where he spent most of last year’s campaign.

There is only one change in the pack, with Jerry Cronin returning to the starting line-up at tight-head prop, making his first league start since September after recovering from a head injury. The rest of the forwards keep their starting births after performing well in poor conditions at the Mennaye Field last time out.

Former rugby league player Will Sharp claims a debut place on the bench, whilst Dan Smith is preferred to cover to second row position since his move back from the wing.

Griffiths has once again announced a strong side which he hopes will be up to the challenge of a home Yorkshire derby against Leeds Carnegie; he said: "Foremost it is four points that we have to get, it doesn't matter if it is Leeds, Rotherham, Nottingham or whoever, it is a game of rugby and we have got to win it, a derby match just adds a bit of spice and hopefully a bigger crowd.

"It’s a game we can't lose really, we need to get something out of it, there is still a lot of rugby ahead and we still have Moseley and Jersey to come which will both be double pointers, but we need to go into those games in the best possible position.

"Since I have been here we have been ultra competitive in every game, right up to the end the result has been in doubt. We are always in the game we just haven't taken our chances to put the result away. We need to keep firing and on the day if we do get some 50/50 calls and some of the things that have been going against us go for us things we should be fine."

Doncaster Knights15. Connor Braid 
14. Michael Keating 13. Will Simpson 12. Tom Luke 11. Tyson Lewis
10. Jamie Lennard 9. Joe Bedford
1. Tom Davies 2. Rhys Buckley 3. Jerry Cronin4. Matt Challinor ©
5. Dominic Parsons 6. Adam Kettle 7. Will Hafu 8. Chris Planchant

16. Jack Bergmanis 17. Brian McGovern 18. Dan Smith 19. Sam Pailor
20. Chris Hallam 21. Dante Mama 22. Will Sharp

Leeds Carnegie

Leeds Carnegie Head Coach Diccon Edwards has named three former Doncaster players in his back line ahead of his side's trip to face the Knights this Saturday.

Oli Goss, Fred Burdon and Stevie McColl are all named in the side with Edwards making just one change to the side that pushed League Leaders Newcastle all the way last week at Otley. That change sees Rory Clegg return from Harlequins on loan in place of Joe Ford at fly half.

New loan signings Ollie Frost and James Currie are on the bench having joined the club from Worcester last week.

Leeds Carnegie
1. Ben Harris 2. Phil Nilsen 3. Damien Tussac 4. Calum Green
5. Mike Myerscough 6. Rob Baldwin 7. Jacob Rowan (c) 8. Ryan Burrows
9. Craig Hampson 10. Rory Clegg 11. David Doherty
12. Fred Burdon 13. Oli Goss 14. Christian Georgiou 15. Stevie McColl

16. Joe Graham  17. Lee Imiolek 18. James Currie 19. Matt Smith
20. Chris Walker 21. Ollie Frost 22. Pete Lucock

What The Papers Say

Liam Hoden The Star:- Doncaster Knights: It's time to get tough: Griffiths

CLIVE Griffiths insists the Knights must learn to dish out a few knockout blows if they are to have any chance of survival this season.

And Griffiths looked to the world of boxing to instruct his team to get tough with the opposition. He said: “We’re good at standing toe-to-toe for good stretches..Our defensive work has been fantastic for a long time now and I’m not concerned with that.

“It’s what happens when we’re on the front foot that bothers me. We need to start softening the opposition up more, giving them the stiff body shots.

“And we need to make sure we land those knockout punches when we get the chance.”

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk

Liam Hoden The Star:- Survival begins at home according to Knights boss Griffiths.

beaten 31-18 in a mud bath at Cornish PiratesThe Knights slipped to a seventh consecutive defeat as they were beaten 31-18 in a mud bath at Cornish Pirates on Sunday, keeping them five points adrift of safety.

But Knights turned in a much improved performance, competing well with the play-off chasing Pirates.

Griffiths is hoping the renewed confidence can be carried into Saturday’s Yorkshire derby with Leeds Carnegie and he has called upon supporters to roar their side on to victory.

“Home form is going to be vital for us for the rest of the season,” the Welshman said.

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk

Jersey v Nottingham - Saturday 15:00

Jersey RugbyNottinghamJersey v Nottingham
Saturday 16th February 
St Peter
Kick Off 3pm



This follows a late pitch inspection by the match referee (Saturday)


After suffering their heaviest defeat of the season at Meadow Lane in October, Jersey will be seeking revenge as Nottingham travel to St Peter for the return fixture.

The home club have once again been forced to consider staging the match on an alternative pitch due to the inordinate amount of rainfall throughout the winter. After the second-wettest fourth quarter on record to finish 2012, January rainfall was well above average and February levels are approaching the monthly average with still a fortnight remaining.

A provisional pitch inspection this morning (Friday) showed that the main pitch at St Peter was unlikely to be fit by Saturday afternoon, so subject to the approval of the match referee, the intention is to stage the game on the adjacent pitch 4.

The alternative pitch staged a National One league match against Stourbridge last season when the main arena was frozen, and accommodated a crowd of 2,200. Arrangements are being made to ensure the approaches to the pitch are safe and dry, with barriers and other necessary crowd control measures put in place. Jersey have appealed for volunteers to help with preparations throughout Friday and on Saturday morning.

A combination of injuries and narrow preferences means Jersey's starting XV will have six changes from the line-up who lost 38-21 to Bedford at Goldington Road last weekend.

After losing one centre, Dai Bishop, in training last week, another one was ruled out this Tuesday with Tom Cooper sustaining a knee injury which is still being assessed but rules his out this weekend.

The injuries, and Max Stelling's switch to the bench, mean Ashley Maggs and Donovan Sanders come into the midfield, while James Copsey is preferred to Chris Levesley on the wing. Ross Broadfoot and Michael Le Bourgeois remain at fly-half and full-back respectively.

Fred Silcock, an impactful replacement against the Blues, starts in the back-row ahead of Joe Buckle, while Sean McCarthy and Charlie Clare are promoted from the bench to the starting front row in place of Richard Barrington and Dave Felton.

1 Sean McCarthy 2 Charlie Clare 3 Jon Brennan 4 Nathan Hannay
5 Dave Markham 6 Kingsley Lang 7 Fred Silcock 8 Guy Thompson
9 Nicky Griffiths (capt) 10 Ross Broadfoot 11 Ed Dawson
12 Ashley Maggs 13 Donovan Sanders 14 James Copsey 15 Mike Le Bourgeois

16 Richard Barrington 17 Dave Felton 18 James Gethings 19 Paul Rodgers
20 Joe Buckle 21 Dave McCormack 22 Glenn Bryce


Nottingham Rugby head coach Martin HaagNottingham Rugby head coach Martin Haag has named an unchanged line-up for tomorrow's meeting with Jersey.

Despite last week’s loss to London Scottish, the Green and Whites’ first defeat in seven matches in all competitions, Haag’s faith in the side is unshaken.

“We have to learn from that and come back and show the right character when we go down to Jersey,” Haag said.

“This season we have shown some good character to come through in games and we have seen some exciting rugby from this side, but we didn’t see any of that at the weekend.

“Sometimes you come off the rails, but it is about how fast you get back on track and move forward.

“We are about winning and are not interested in talking about losing or having that as an option. Winning is a habit that we have to keep going to stay in the top four.”

Andrew Savage gets his second start at full-back since returning from injury after more than two months.

David Jackson, who marked his return to the wing with the only try against the Exiles last week, retains his spot with Rhys Crane still unable to train this week because of injury.

“We all know what has to be done to put that last result right and that is by delivering on Saturday,” Haag said.

“Our first trip to the island is going to be an occasion, and we expect a big crowd, great atmosphere and that a tough battle is waiting for us.”

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

16 Shaun Malton 17 Ryan Bower 18 Joe Quinn 19 Tom Calladine
20 Finlay Barnham 21 Joe Cobden 22 Andy Forsyth.

What The Papers Say

Nottingham Post:- Defeat Was 'Reality Check' For Nottingham

Andrew Savage.Nottingham Rugby's shock defeat at London Scottish on Saturday will serve as a "reality check" to the whole squad, according to Andrew Savage.

The loss saw Martin Haag's men slip to third, behind Bedford, in the RFU Championship standings, ahead of their trip to Jersey this Saturday.

Winger Savage believes it could turn out to be a blessing and motivate the players to finish the season on a high to secure a top-four spot and reach the play-off semi-finals – having narrowly missed out in previous seasons.

Andrew Savage In Action For Nottingham

"It's a bit of a reality check for us and we know we're not the finished article, we just need to keep working in training and get better each week." said Savage.

Full Story www.thisisnottingham.co.uk

Other News This Week

Jersey Have Signed Charlie Walker-Blair For The Remainder Of The Season.

Charlie Walker-Blair  The 24-year-old back rower, formerly with Exeter Chiefs,  is hoping to get his career back on track after injury.

He was a popular performer at Cornish Pirates last season, where he was dual registered with the Chiefs, making 11 Championship appearances for the Pirates and scoring two tries, prior to suffering another knee injury.

Charlie told Jersey’s Website "I'm grateful for the opportunity to get back playing with Jersey and help the club during the final two months of the season. It's been frustrating to have been injured, but now I just want to get out on the pitch and get some games under my belt."

Ben Harvey, Jersey RFC Director of Rugby, said: "Charlie is an exceptional player who has been held back by injuries, and I am looking forward to him showing Jersey supporters the talent that earned him a Premiership contract."

Plymouth Albion v Bedford  - Saturday 15:00

Plymouth AlbionBedford BluesPlymouth Albion v Bedford 
Saturday 16th February 
Kick Off 3pm


Plymouth Albion

Albion make just two changes to their team for the visit of second-placed Bedford Blues to Brickfields, Props Jack Andrew and David Morton return to the starting line-up in place of Ben Rogers and Lloyd Fairbrother, who has been struggling with a tight hamstring.

Albion, playing at home for only the second time in 2013, are hoping to build on their encouraging display at Rotherham last weekend when they secured two bonus points in a narrow 34-31 defeat and their performance at Leeds the week before when they heartbreakingly lost 28-26.

Albion coach Nat Saumi.“For the team to come back having managed to get three points from those two games in Yorkshire has given the players confidence,” said Albion coach Nat Saumi.

However, Saumi is aware his team will have to be at their best if they are to end their losing running against Bedford Blues, who have won on their last six visits to Brickfields.

“It is going to be a very tough game for us,” he said. “We have to be very clinical with our attacks and defensive wise, because if we make any mistakes we will be punished.”

Albion welcome back Rupeni Nasiga and Tom Cowan-Dickie to their squad. They will both start on the bench on Saturday

15 Rhodri McAtee 14 Lewis Warner 13 Toby Howley-Berridge 12 Bevon Armitage
11 Tom Bowen 10 Paul Roberts 9 Ruairi Cushion (c)
1 Jack Andrew 2 Jon Vickers 3 David Morton 4 Brett Beukeboom
5 Harrison Tovey 6 Sean-Michael Stephen 7 Sam Hocking 8 Aaron Carpenter

16 Paul Rowley 17 Paul Bailey 18 Ben Rogers 19 Lloyd Fairbrother/Keni Fisilau
20 Tom Cowan-Dickie 21 Rupeni Nasiga 22, Sam Matavesi


After picking up their first win of 2013 last weekend, Bedford Blues are looking to start a mini streak as they push for a top four finish in the Championship this season.

Standing in the way this Saturday will be Nat Saumi’s Plymouth side who will be looking to revitalise their own season and would see the scalp of Bedford as the ideal way to do just that. Albion haven’t been enjoying the Championship as of late and you have to go back to November to register the team’s last league win when they defeated London Scottish 24-20 at Brickfields.

The Blues squad has been bolstered this week by the loan signing of Myles Dorrian who had also attracted the interest of this weekend’s hosts. Dorrian joins Bedford until the end of the season and takes a place on the bench. Long term injuries aside, Darren Fearn is the only other concern with a calf injury keeping him out this week.

Looking ahead to the game, Blues coach Matt Volland said: “Last week’s game should stand us in good stead for the battle at Brickfields as Plymouth always bring a lot of physicality and pride to their performances.

They will be pretty desperate to get a win sooner rather than later so as not to be dragged into the relegation battle. Our aim doesn’t change, we just want to continue to collect as many points as we can. We will need to be prepared to adapt our game to whatever circumstances that we are faced with.”

Bedford make five changes to the team that beat Jersey at Goldington Road last Saturday with Phil Boulton, Paul Tupai, Darren Fox, Luke Baldwin and Brendan Burke all returning to the starting line-up. Ben Gulliver, Tom Armes, Darryl Veenendaal and Ollie Dodge all move to the bench where they will be joined by Myles Dorrian.

Bedford Blues:
15. James Pritchard (C) 14. James Stephenson 13. Brendan Burke 12. Mark Atkinson
11. Josh Bassett 10. Jake Sharp 9. Luke Baldwin
1. Ricky Reeves 2. Neil Cochrane 3. Phil Boulton 4. Mike Howard
5. Paul Tupai 6. Gregor Gillanders 7. Darren Fox 8. Don Barrell

16. Chris Locke, 17. Dan Seal, 18. Ben Gulliver, 19. Tom Armes
20. Darryl Veenendaal, 21. Myles Dorrian, 22. Ollie Dodge

What The Papers Say

Michael Hann, Bedford Today:- Blues Look To Maintain Impressive Brickfields Record

at The Brickfields when they take on Plymouth Albion Bedford Blues will be looking to maintain their impressive away record at The Brickfields when they take on Plymouth Albion on Saturday.

The Blues last suffered defeat at The Brickfields in December 2006 and they face a Plymouth side that have lost their last six Championshi pfixtures.

However, Bedford director of rugby Mike Rayer believes his side will be in for a tough battle on a worse for wear Brickfields pitch.

He said: “We have never had an easy game down at The Brickfields and they are a very proud club.”

Full Story www.bedfordtoday.co.uk

Other News This Week

Dorrian Returns To Goldington Road

Myles Dorrian  to Goldington Road on loan Former Blues player Myles Dorrian has returned to Goldington Road on loan until the end of the season.

Dorrian, who moved to Exeter at the start of the 2011/12 season, signed on for the Blues following the 38-21 win over Jersey on Saturday and is available for selection for the Plymouth Albion game on Saturday after all registration details were completed this week.

With Alex Rae heading off for London Wasps last week, the re-signing of 30 year old Dorrian gives the squad a massive boost and will provide valuable competition at fly half as the Blues push for a top four finish.

Speaking after Dorrian signed for a second sting with the Blues, Director of Rugby Mike Rayer said: “Having Mylo back is a real bonus for us as we strive to finish in the top four and make the play-offs.

We are entering a very critical time in the season and having a steady head like Myles on board gives us another great option at 10. We are looking forward to seeing how he has matured and improved in such a great environment at Sandy Park.

“Obviously we want to thank Rob Baxter and Exeter Chiefs for their co-operation in this deal and are over the moon that Mylo showed such desire in wanting to return to Goldington Rd.”

Bristol v Rotherham Titans - Sunday 15:00

Bristol RugbyRotherham Titans Bristol v Rotherham 
Sunday 17th February 
The Memorial Ground
Kick Off 3pm



Bristol Rugby face Rotherham Titans on Sunday, looking to extend an unbeaten run at home that stretches back to September.

Liam Middleton makes no changes from the side selected to play in the postponed fixture with Moseley last weekend.

Gaston Cortes returns from injury to replace the suspended Jason Hobson, while Alafoti Faosiliva is preferred to Marco Mama in the back row.

Bristol are boosted as Fautua Otto makes his first start of the campaign, while Mike Tagicakibau (hamstring) is still sidelined.

Middleton opts for a five forwards and two backs split on the bench.

Bristol Rugby
Jack Tovey; George Watkins, Fautua Otto, Luke Eves, Ryan Edwards
Adrian Jarvis, James Grindal (c); Kyle Traynor, Ross Johnston, Gaston Corte
Mariano Sambucetti, Glen Townson, Alafoti Faosiliva, Redford Pennycook, Mitch Eadie.

Rhys Lawrence, Bruce Douglas, Wayne Thompson, Ben Glynn
Marco Mama, Ruki Tipuna, Tristan Roberts.

Rotherham Titans

Rotherham Titans travel to Bristol on Sunday and expect nothing other than a rough battle, as both sides attempt to climb into a top-four spot.

Ahead of the skirmish, Titans Head Coach Alex Codling has made five changes to the starting 15 that beat Plymouth Albion last time out in an entertaining 34-31 thriller at Clifton Lane. Of the five changes that Codling has made for Bristol, the only one across the backline sees player coach Lee Blackett come in at inside centre for Pale Nonu.

Up front Harry Hannan makes his first start for the club at hooker following his arrival from Leeds Carnegie in late November, whilst on his shoulder Ross Davies returns to the side at tight head prop. In the back row Toby Freeman starts at blind side and Carl Kirwan gets the nod at open side as he makes his first start for 6 weeks following a back injury.

Titans’ recent record against Bristol is good, having beaten them four times in the last five meetings. The fixture earlier in the season at Clifton Lane saw the host’s run out 23-16 victors, with a penalty try and one from Alex Rieder sealing the points for the Titans back in October. However, the overall head to head in all competitions sees both sides with seven wins each.

Looking ahead to the contest Alex Codling explained, “Bristol are an outstanding side, they have a lot of experience and a lot of leaders within their squad and they are very focused on getting back into the Premiership. But we are in good shape after last weekend, we know we played well in parts, but we also know there are areas where we can improve too.

“We know how tough it will be down there and we know we’ll have to battle for everything we get. You know when you play sides like Bristol and Newcastle you have to be at your very best if you are going to win, but it also focuses the mind on the task in hand. The boys have trained well this week and we are going to go down there and give it absolutely everything.

“Bristol have a very strong set piece and the driving maul is a key aspect for them. They have a powerful back row and in Adrian Jarvis at fly half, they have a guy there who gives them some real control with ball in hand and with his kicking abilities. Add to that the pace that they have out wide and we quickly realise they will pose us some real danger. But we are ready for the challenge and it’s a challenge we are looking forward to.”

15 Garry Law (Capt.), 14 Mike Doneghan, 13 Eamonn Sheridan, 12 Lee Blackett
11 Pete Homan, 10 James McKinney, 9 Charlie Mulchrone
1 Marshall Gadd, 2 Harry Hannan, 3 Ross Davies, 4 Ben Thomas
5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Toby Freeman, 7 Carl Kirwan, 8 Alex Rieder.

16 Ted Stagg, 17 Jamie Kilbane, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Joe Ellyatt
20 Latu Makaafi, 21 Pale Nonu, 22 Jimmy Williams.

What The Papers Say

Bristol Post:- Every Game Is A Must-Win From Now On – Liam Middleton

LIAM Middleton has backed his Bristol players to thrive on the pressure of playing "must-win" games every time they step on to the field between now and the end of the season.

​Bristol head coach Liam Middleton insists promotion is in their hands

The head coach said: "I think the key thing for us is that we've got to keep it in our own hands.

"At the moment, it's still in our hands and it's such a competitive league that teams are going to lose in the next eight games – we just can't be one of those teams."

Full Story www.thisisbristol.co.uk

Other News This Week

Steve Cotton, Bristol Post:- Andy Robinson To Become Director Of Rugby At Bristol

BRISTOL Rugby will reinforce their desire to return to the big time when they confirm next week that former England and Scotland head coach Andy Robinson is their new director of rugby.

Bristol Rugby will confirm next week that former England and Scotland head coach Andy Robinson is their new director of rugby

But it is understood Liam Middleton, Bristol’s head coach, is supportive of the appointment and will remain in his current position with his title unaffected.

Middleton will lead the coaching while Robinson oversees the bigger picture, including player recruitment and team strategy.

Full Story www.thisisbristol.co.uk

Northampton Saints lock Mark Sorenson To Join Bristol For 2013-14 campaign

33-year-old  Sorenson joined Newcastle Falcons in 2006 from Bay of Plenty in New Zealand

He left Kingston Park, where he played 100 Premiership games, for Saints in 2010, since then he has made 86 appearances for them  in all competitions.

Sorenson quoted on Bristol's Website said "I can see what Bristol are trying to do – their vision is clear – that's to be an established Premiership side. The challenge on the field is to maintain the standards that are already set and try and lift them next season."

Bristol head coach Liam Middleton told BBC Sport ""He has a big capacity for work, testimony to his professional attitude and to his physical condition.

"The fact that he has already featured 23 times this season in the Premiership, Heineken Cup and LV= Cup reflects how valuable he is to the team he plays for, and a representation of his durability."

Earlier this week Bristol also announced the signing of Gloucester flanker Peter Buxton

“I’ve always been an admirer of the way Peter plays the game, he personifies work ethic and toughness, an unrelenting warrior,” said Head Coach Liam Middleton.

“Having known him for some time, when the opportunity arose to bring Peter to the Club, I had no hesitation in sharing with him what we are driving towards at Bristol."

Breaking News

Rotherham Rugby News On Twitter

From Rotherham Rugby News On Twitter #titansrugby

Rotherham have signed young front rower Jared Saunders on loan from Saracens

Rotherham have signed fly half Tom Carlisle from on loan from Worcester Warriors

Cornish Pirates v London Scottish - Sunday 14:30

Cornish PiratesLondon ScottishCornsih Pirates v London Scottish
Sunday 17th February 
Mennaye Field
Kick Off 2:30pm

Cornish Pirates

London Scottish travel to the Mennaye Field in good form, as their last four Championship results confirm, three of which were against the top sides in the league

Fourth-placed Pirates have also shown fine form of late, also going four games unbeaten in the Championship

There are a number of changes for the Pirates from last week’s side that played against the Knights, Hooker Rob Elloway returns to the starting line-up for what will be his 151st appearance for the club.

Ben Prescott continues at tight-head prop having replaced an injured Alan Paver early in the match last weekend and in the second-row David Lyons is named to partner Darren Barry.

Flanker Kyle Marriott will captain the side as Tom Kessell replaces club skipper Gavin Cattle at scrum-half.

Cornish Pirates:
W. Davies, B. Mercer, T. Riley, J. Fatialofa
M. Evans, K. Hallett, T. Kessell
L. McGlone, P. Burgess, K. Marriott (capt), D. Barry
D. Lyons, B. Prescott, R. Elloway, P. Andrew.

R. Storer, D. Semmens, P. Joyce, G. Johnson
B. Maidment, G. Cattle, G. Pointer.

London Scottish

London Scottish have made just one change to their starting line-up to face the Pirates at the Mennaye Field on Sunday.

PJ Gidlow comes into the side at inside centre, with Andy Reay dropping to the replacements bench. Otherwise Scottish line up as they did when they defeated Nottingham 25-13 at the Athletic Ground last weekend. Miles Mantella continues on the left having scored three tries in Scottish’s last two games.

The familiar back row combination of Ben Russell, Chevvy Pennycook and skipper Mark Bright will continue as Scottish go looking for their fourth consecutive league win and a second win on the road all season.

Nic Mayhew and Eric Fry continue at loosehead and tighthead prop respectively, with Mark Irish, Harry Allen and Alex Mackenzie providing front row cover from the replacements bench. Lewis Calder, Alex Karonias and Richard Bolt are the other replacements.

London Scottish
15 Jim Thompson; 14 James Love, 13 Oli Grove, 12 PJ Gidlow
11 Miles Mantella; 10 Phil Godman, 9 Jamie Stevenson;
1 Nic Mayhew, 2 Adam Kwasnicki, 3 Eric Fry; 4 Paul Spivey
5 Tyler Hotson; 6 Ben Russell, 7 Chevvy Pennycook, 8 Mark Bright (c).

16 Mark Irish, 17 Harry Allen, 18 Alex Mackenzie, 19 Alex Karonias
20 Lewis Calder, 21 Richard Bolt, 22 Andy Reay

What The Papers Say

Western Morning News:- Pirates Ready For Difficult Game Against In-Form Rivals

London Scottish's recent spell has certainly not gone unnoticed. Pirates head coach Ian Davies said: "They are the form horses and anybody who saw the game on TV they played against Newcastle would have said London Scottish should have won.

"We know this weekend is going to be a really tough game. It is no surprise to us that London Scottish are performing well. They were under-performing at the start of the season with the squad they have got.

"The move to full-time coaches is something that may have tipped the balance for them. The big advantage we've got is that we are at home and most of our victories have come at the Mennaye."

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