RFU Championship And British & Irish Cup News

Feb 1st

Championship And Cup News


RFU Championship And British & Irish Cup News

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

RFU Championship

Re-Arranged Round 14 Fixture
Friday 1 February
Doncaster v London Scottish 19:45

Re-Play Of Round 13 Fixture
Sunday 3 February
Leeds Carnegie v Plymouth Albion 14:30

British & Irish Cup

Re-Arranged Round 6 Fixtures

Friday 1st February 2013
Pool 2 Bedford v Bedwas 19:30
Pool 4 Cross Keys v Newcastle 19:30

Friday 22nd February 2013
Pool 1 Bristol v Cardiff 19:45

Weekend 23rd/24th February
Nottingham v Llandovery

Dates Outstanding
Pool 1 Bridgend v Ulster, Pool 4 Connacht v Newport
Pool 5 Pontypridd v Jersey, Pool 7 Rotherham Titans v Aberavon

RFU Championship RFU Championship

1 Re-Arranged Fixture: Doncaster v London Scottish

1 Re-Play Fixture: Leeds Carnegie v Plymouth Albion

Doncaster v London Scottish - Friday 19:45

Doncaster KnightsLondon Scottish Doncaster v London Scottish
RFU Championship 
Re-Arranged Round 14
Friday 1st February 
Castle Park
Kick Off 7:45pm



Clive Griffiths has made just one change to the side he announced for last weekend’s scheduled fixture against London Scottish for tonight’s must-win clash

The Knights are looking to return to winning ways in front of the home faithful and are boosted by the return of influential hooker Rhys Buckley who is free to play having served his three week suspension.

Keiran Brookes remains with England Saxons giving young prospect Tomas Francis another chance in the tight-head jersey. Elsewhere in the pack crowd favourites Adam Kettle and Chris Planchant start in the back-row as Griffiths names another strong set-piece.

Griffiths keeps faith with his backline as the resurgent Michael Keating keeps his place at full-back after a lengthy lay-off through injury and will be hoping to spark the attacking intent promised. Joe Bedford makes his Championship return in only his third outing for the Knights and is partnered at outside-half by Connor Braid.

Tom Luke makes his return to league action after not featuring since November last year with a broken jaw and is likely to meet the physical opposition of former Doncaster centre PJ Gidlow in one of the must watch encounters.

Griffiths also names a strong bench which will hope to make an impact in the late stages of the game.

Doncaster Knights
15) Michael Keating 14) Dougie Flockhart 13) Will Simpson 12) Tom Luke
11) Tyson Lewis 10) Connor Braid 9) Joe Bedford
1) Tom Davies 2) Rhys Buckley 3) Tomas Francis 4) Matt Challinor ©
5) Dominic Parsons 6) Adam Kettle 7) Jethro Rawling 8) Chris Planchant

16) Brian McGovern 17) Will Hafu 18) Jerry Cronin 19) Sam Pailor
20) Chris Hallam 21) Jamie Lennard 22) Dante Mama

London Scottish

London Scottish have made two changes to the starting XV for this re-arranged fixture at Castle Park tonight

The majority of the side named is as it was before last Friday’s match was postponed but Richard Bolt steps in to the scrum half position in place of Jamie Stevenson, who has been named in the Scotland A side to face England Saxons at Newcastle. Ross Samson moves onto the replacements bench. Elsewhere, Alex Mackenzie retains his starting spot at tighthead prop from the match against Gala.

Miles Mantella returns on the wing for the first time since the win over Bedford at the start of the month, having missed both British and Irish Cup fixtures over the last few weeks. Phil Godman also returns to the starting XV, having been initially rested for the Gala match last weekend.

In the pack, Adam Kwasnicki returns to the front row to join Mackenzie and Mark Irish and Chevvy Pennycook is restored at openside flanker. Paul Spivey and recent try-scorer against Bedford Tyler Hotson continue in the second row.

Scottish have opted for a five-two split on forwards and backs on the replacements bench, with Nic Mayhew, Craig McGrath and Eric Fry all named as front row options. Alex Karonias, Lewis Calder and Andy Reay are also named on a strong bench.

London Scottish
15 Jim Thompson; 14 James Love, 13 Oli Grove, 12 PJ Gidlow,
11 Miles Mantella; 10 Phil Godman, 9 Richard Bolt
1 Mark Irish, 2 Adam Kwasnicki, 3 Alex Mackenzie; 4 Paul Spivey
5 Tyler Hotson; 6 Ben Russell, 7 Chevvy Pennycook, 8 Mark Bright (c)

16 Nic Mayhew, 17 Craig McGrath, 18 Eric Fry, 19 Alex Karonias
20 Lewis Calder, 21 Ross Samson, 22 Andy Reay

What The Papers Say

Paul Goodwin, The Star - Clive Griffiths sets victory target

DONCASTER Knights need to win at least five of their remaining games to avoid relegation from the Championship, according to boss Clive Griffiths.

Griffiths said: “We’re in a very dire situation but we’re still battling and we’ll keep on battling to the end.

“We’ve got nine games to go and I’d say if we didn’t win fifty per cent of them we’re not going to stay up. “I don’t care if we win every game by one point as long as we get the result.

“We need that morale-boosting win to kick start the next couple of months and we need to get that against London Scottish.”

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk

Leeds Carnegie v Plymouth Albion - Sunday 14:30

Leeds CarnegiePlymouth AlbionLeeds Carnegie v Plymouth Albion
RFU Championship
Re-Play Of Round 13 Fixture
Sunday 3rd February
West Park Leeds
Kick Off 2:30pm

This game has to replayed due to the decision of the Organising Committee of the Championship, who met on January 13th at the request of the RFU, to review the circumstances that led to uncontested scrums after 13 minutes of play in the original fixture at Headingley on January 6th.

Having considered all facts and reviewed a tape of the game involved it was found that the Referee correctly ruled that the pitch was not safe for scrummaging .

Leeds Carnegie

Joe Ford returns at fly half for Leeds Carnegie for this clash with Plymouth Albion at West Park Leeds on Sunday.

Rory Clegg has returned to Quins for this weekend allowing Ford to return to the starting line up whilst Fred Burdon is back from injury in the centres.

Prop Sam Lockwood is ruled out through injury so Ben Harris starts at loose head whilst Mike Myerscough comes in for Dominic Barrow, who is away with the England U20 team.

On the bench, Leeds give a debut to loan signing Dominic Moon from Preston Grasshoppers.

Leeds Carnegie
15. Stevie McColl 14. Matt Clark 13. Josh Griffin 12. Fred Burdon
11. David Doherty 10. Joe Ford 9. James Doherty
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

16. Joe Graham 17. Lee Imiolek 18. Ben Hooper 19. Matt Smith
20. Dominic Moon 21. Craig Hampson 22. Christian Georgiou

Plymouth Albion

Albion Prop Ben Rogers is set to get his first Championship start on Sunday when Plymouth Albion take on Leeds for the second time in four weeks.

Albion will have a slightly different line-up at West Park to the one that lost at Headingley a month ago.

Forwards Sam Hocking and Herbie Stupple missed that match due to injuries but will line-up, alongside Sean-Michael Stephen, in the back-row on Sunday.

Stupple will be making his first start since September 9 after recovering from a broken shoulder.

However, prop Luke Cowan-Dickie, is unavailable for Albion this weekend’s as he is on England Under-20 duty tonight in Plymouth, alongside backs Henry Slade and Jack Arnott.

15 Rhodri McAtee 14 Lewis Warner 13 Toby Howley-Berridge 12 Bevon Armitage
11 Tom Bowen 10 Paul Roberts 9 Ruairi Cushion
1 Ben Rogers 2 Jon Vickers 3 David Morton 4 Brett Beukeboom
5 Rupeni Nasiga 6 Sean-Micheal Stephen (capt) 7 Sam Hocking 8 Herbie Stupple

16 Paul Rowley 17 Keni Fisilau 18 Paul Bailey 19 Jack Andrew
20 Jamie Salter 21 Aaron Carpenter 22 Sam Matavesi

What The Papers Say

Sara Raine, Plymouth Herald - Vickers Expects Huge Challenge At Leeds

HOOKER Jon Vickers believes Plymouth Albion face a huge challenge on Sunday when they make their second trip to Leeds within a month.

Leeds scrum-half James Doherty tweeted after the re-play verdict was announced: "RFU Championship are you joking? I request we replay the game at Jersey then considering that was only fit for growing spuds."

Vickers says all the Albion players know that Leeds will be keen to prove a point on Sunday when the match is replayed at West Park.

"They will feel that result was fine and that the scrum would not have made any difference, but we have to make sure otherwise."

Full Story www.thisisplymouth.co.uk

British & Irish Cup

British & Irish Cup

Re-Arranged Round 6 Fixtures

Pool 2 Bedford v Bedwas - Friday 1st 19:30

Bedford BluesBedwasBedford v Bedwas
Friday 1st February
Goldington Road
Kick Off 7:30pm



Bedford have named their squad to face Bedwas in the rescheduled British & Irish game at Goldington Road tonight.

Bedford Blues
15. James Pritchard (c) 14. James Stephenson 13. Ollie Dodge 12. Mark Atkinson
11. Mark Kohler 10. Jake Sharp 9. Darryl Veenendaal
1. Darren Fearn 2. Chris Locke 3. Dan Seal 4. Mike Howard
5. Ben Gulliver 6. Gregor Gillanders 7. Tom Armes 8. Don Barrell

16. Neil Cochrane, 17. Ben Cooper, 18. Ricky Reeves, 19. Joe Vandermolen
20. Darren Fox, 21. Ian Vass, 22. Brendan Burke


AwaitingTeam News

What The Papers Say

Michael Hann, Bedford Today - Blues Set To Make Changes For Friday Night Lights

Bedford Blues forwards coach Martin Hynes is hoping his side can build some ‘momentum’ when they take on Bedwas tonight.

The Blues conclude the pool stage of the British & Irish Cup this week knowing that a win would set up a home quarter-final with Llanelli.

But after defeat against Nottingham last time out Hynes says his side are focusing on putting on a good show.

He said: ”I think the lads are just desperate for a good win and more importantly than the win, a good performance.

“When you have a loss with as many penalties and mistakes as we had in the game against Nottingham then there are consequences with selection.”

Full Story www.bedfordtoday.co.uk

Pool 4 Cross Keys v Newcastle  - Friday 1st 19:30

Cross Keys Newcastle FalconsCross Keys v Newcastle
Friday 1st February
Pandy Park
Kick Off 7:30pm

Cross Keys

Keys have drafted in hooker Mark Davies from WRU Division Two East side, Fleur De Lys.

32 yr old Davies, included in the side under permit, is Captain of Fleur De Lys who are based in South-East Wales and are a feeder club for Newport Gwent Dragons.

Cross Keys
15. Gareth David 14. Nathan Williams 13. Luke Williams 12. Aled James
11. Nathan Trowbridge 10. Dorian Jones 9. Rhys Dyer (c)
1. Richard Cornock 2. Gerwyn Price 3. Anthony Lott 4. Danny Hodge
5. Ollie Hodge 6. Sean Higgins 7. Scott Matthews 8. Adam Powell

Mark Davies (hooker on permit from Fleur de Lys), Craig Gould, Tom Lampard
Rob Nash, Ryan James, Dean Gunter, Will Owen.

Referee: Eanna O’Dowd (IRFU)


Jimmy Gopperth is set to make his one hundredth appearance for Newcastle Falcons at Cross Keys tonight

The two-time Aviva Premiership Golden Boot winner will lead his charges out for the match knowing that victory over the Welsh outfit will secure a home quarter-final.

Falcons boss Dean Richards has rang the changes with six new faces coming into the starting XV including a debut for No.8 Ollie Stedman, who recently made the switch from National League One club Tynedale.

Andrew Higgins, Alex Crockett, Jamie Helleur and Ryan Shortland all come into a re-jigged backline with Jimmy Gopperth and Warren Fury combining at half-back.

Experienced lock James Hudson gets the nod in the pack as the Falcons aim round off the British and Irish Cup pool stages with a flourish.

Director of rugby Richards said: “In some ways it’s nice to get a two week break as it gives you a chance to work on a few things that you might not usually be able to work on.

“We also have a few injuries and the break has given them the opportunity to get back.

“A home quarter-final would be nice and we’ve picked a team to go down there and win – we also want some continuity in the side.”

Newcastle Falcons:
15 Tom Catterick, 14 Andy Higgins, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Jamie Helleur,
11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Warren Fury
1 Jonny Golding, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 James Hudson
5 Scott MacLeod, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ollie Stedman

16 Matt Thompson, 17 James Hall, 18 Richard Mayhew, 19 Chris York
20 Rory Lawson, 21 Joel Hodgson, 22 James Fitzpatrick

What The Papers Say

Mark Smith, The Journal - Newcastle Falcons will still be up for the Cup

Smith writes: you have to really love your rugby to get excited about the British and Irish Cup and be a fully-fledged obsessive to make the 620-mile round trip to Cross Keys for this evening’s virtual dead-rubber against part-time opposition.

This evening’s Pandy Park battle might normally have seen second-string fodder to the fore but, after a fortnight without a game and a nine-day turnaround to their next league outing, director of rugby Dean Richards has included a number of his big hitters.

Eyeing up further progression this evening, Richards said: “A home quarter-final would be nice, even though we have already now qualified for the next round of the competition. We have picked a team to go down there and win, and also we want to get a bit of continuity in the side”.

“Having a longer turnaround between Cross Keys and our next game against Leeds means we can afford to play a lot of guys and get them back out again for that one.”

Full Story www.journallive.co.uk

News Round-Up From Around The Clubs


Bristol RugbyBRISTOL forwards Gaston Cortes, Ben Glynn and Redford Pennycook have all signed new contracts at the club.

Cortes has signed for one season whilst Glynn and Pennycook have signed for two.

The announcement follows the recent news that Worcester backs Errie Claassens and Andy Short will move to the club this summer.

Doncaster Knights

Doncaster KnightsKnights have signed former Super League star Will Sharp.

Cross-code convert Sharp joins the Knights after a short trial stint with London Wasps in the Aviva Premiership following a successful spell with Super League heavyweights Hull FC.

The centre/wing spent two seasons at the KC Stadium making 39 appearances and bagging 12 tries in teetering on the edge of the England side.

The Knight's Director of Professional Rugby, Clive Griffiths, believes Sharp’s speed, strength and top class experience will add an extra dimension to his side in the last third of the Championship season.

Griffiths said: “He has proved himself in one of the toughest rugby environments with Hull and Harlequins in the Super League and has a track record as a finisher.

 “I believe he is of a similar mould as Wes Davies, who I signed in my last spell at Castle Park, and hopefully we will get the same successful scenario from Will. He will definitely bring go forward.”


Jersey RugbyBarry Davies banned by Jersey

Jersey full-back Barry Davies has been given a two-week ban by the club following an incident in the closing minutes of the game against Rotherham last Saturday (Jan 26th).

Club officials reviewed the relevant footage from the match at St Peter and decided that there was a case to answer regarding alleged foul play.

This led to the immediate imposition of the ban, which runs until Tuesday February 12th.

Leeds Carnegie

Leeds CarnegieLeeds Carnegie have bolstered their squad with the loan signing of 29-year-old back rower Dominic Moon from Preston Grasshoppers.

As Leeds are without Chris Walker, final match of suspension, and Dominic Barrow, England U20 v Scotland, Moon will come straight into the squad for Sunday's game with Plymouth Albion..

Rotherham Titans

Rotherham Titans Rotherham Titans have announced a further three players from the current squad have penned deals which will see them remain at Clifton Lane until the summer of 2014.

The forward trio of Gareth Denman, Ben Thomas and Dan Sanderson have all put pen to paper, bringing the total of retained players up to nine for the 2013-14 season.

This follows the recent announcements of Marshall Gadd, Barney Maddison, Charlie Mulchrone and Lee Blackett who have all extended their contracts. In addition, Garry Law and Harry Hannan currently have contracts taking them through to the end of next season.

Commenting on the news Titans Head Coach Alex Codling said, “I’m happy with how our recruitment is progressing for next season, it’s an ongoing process and we are speaking to a number of other players within the group

. It’s inevitable that some players will leave at the end of the season; that happens at all clubs. However, I am pleased with where we are at the moment and our aim is to keep that going.”