RFU Championship News

March 1st

RFU Championship News

 
 

RFU Championship News

RFU ChampionshipTeams & Previews

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

RFU Championship Rd 17

Saturday 2 March 2013
Bedford v Bristol 15:00 - LIVE ON Three Counties Radio & BBC Radio Bristol
London Scottish v Jersey 14:00 - LIVE ON BBC Radio Jersey
Moseley v Doncaster 15:00
Rotherham Titans v Newcastle 15:00

Sunday 3 March 2013
Leeds Carnegie v Cornish Pirates 14:30
Nottingham v Plymouth Albion 15:00 BBC Radio Cornwall


Bedford v Bristol - Saturday 15:00

Bedford BluesBristol RugbyBedford v Bristol 
Goldington Road
Saturday 2 March
Kick Off 3pm

Live On
Three Counties Radio
BBC Radio Bristol

Bedford

Second placed Bedford Blues welcome fourth placed Bristol in a clash which could go a long way in determining who finishes in the top four of the Championship.

Looking ahead to the fixture, Blues Forwards Coach Martin Hynes said: “At this stage of the season, every point is vital and we will be doing everything that we can to stake a claim for a top four finish. Our home form has been good this season and keeping that momentum going in front of our fans is important if we want to take anything from this game.

“Bristol are a huge club who continuously get branded as sleeping giants but we know what they are capable of and they will have earmarked this game as a springboard for their own push for the top four. This is also Andy Robinson’s first game in charge so I’m sure his players will want to make a lasting impression on the new boss so we have to be prepared.

“The lads have been excellent in training and have had plenty of time to go over the performances against Plymouth and Jersey. We know what we are capable of and I’m sure everyone is in for a right treat on Saturday afternoon.”

Bedford Blues
15. James Pritchard (c) 14. James Stephenson 13. Ollie Dodge 12. Mark Atkinson
11. Mark Kohler 10. Jake Sharp 9. Luke Baldwin
1. Ricky Reeves 2. Neil Cochrane 3. Dan Seal 4. Mike Howard
5. Ben Gulliver 6. Gregor Gillanders 7. Darren Fox 8. Tom Armes

Replacements:
16. Chris Locke, 17. Ben Cooper, 18. Paul Tupai, 19. Don Barrell
20. Darryl Veenendaal, 21. Myles Dorrian, 22. Brendan Burke

Bristol 

Bristol Rugby make three changes from the side that beat Rotherham in thir last Championship outing,

Ruki Tipuna will skipper the side after replacing James Grindal at scrum half, while Wayne Thompson and Marco Mama come into the pack.

Fautua Otto and Luke Eves form the midfield partnership, while George Watkins – who has five tries in his last seven games – is named on the wing.

Middleton opts for a four forwards and three backs split on the replacements bench, with James Merriman included in the 22-man squad.

Bristol
Jack Tovey; George Watkins, Fautua Otto, Luke Eves
Ryan Edwards; Adrian Jarvis, Ruki Tipuna (c); Kyle Traynor
Ross Johnston, Wayne Thompson, Mariano Sambucetti, Glen Townson
Marco Mama, Redford Pennycook, Mitch Eadie.

Replacements:
Rhys Lawrence, Bruce Douglas, Ben Glynn, James Merriman
James Grindal, Tristan Roberts, Ben Mosses.

What The Papers Say

Michael Hann, Bedford Today: Blues look to upset Robinson's bow

Bedford Blues will be out to spoil Andy Robinson’s first game in charge of Bristol when the two sides battle it out at Goldington Road on Saturday.

Despite the introduction of Robinson, Bedford director of rugby Mike Rayer doesn’t envisage that Bristol will bring a brand new style of rugby to Goldington Road on Saturday.

He said: “I’m sure it will have a bit of media interest, but how much impact he (Andy Robinson) will have had who’s to know.

“I don’t think much will change as they have got a good set-up anyway.

Full Story www.bedfordtoday.co.uk

Steve Cotton, Bristol Post: Andy Robinson begins work at Bristol Rugby

ANDY Robinson begins work at Bristol today – but head coach Liam Middleton expects the new director of rugby to spend the next few weeks observing and settling in.

Robinson, the former England, Scotland, Bath and Edinburgh boss, will be on the team coach that heads to Bedford for tomorrow’s key Championship game – but is unlikely to have an input on selection.

And, with Bristol having won ten of their last 11 games in all competitions, Middleton expects Robinson to spend the first few weeks assessing the squad and the way the club operates.

“Andy coming in the day before the Bedford game is just the way the dates have panned out, but he’s going to jump on the bus with us to the game,” said Middleton.

Full Story www.thisisbristol.co.uk


London Scottish v Jersey - Saturday 14:00

London ScottishJersey RugbyLondon Scottish v Jersey 
The Athletic Ground
Saturday 2 March
Kick Off 2pm

LIVE ON BBC Radio Jersey

 

London Scottish

London Scottish have made four changes to their starting XV from the side that defeated Cornish Pirates at the Mennaye Field two weeks ago.

In the back division, Andy Reay is restored at inside centre with PJ Gidlow dropping to the replacements bench. Jamie Stevenson misses out through injury so Richard Bolt starts at scrum half with Ross Samson coming on to the bench.

There is a start for Mark Irish at loosehead prop as he lines up alongside Adam Kwasnicki and Eric Fry in the front row. Alex Karonias begins in the second row alongside Tyler Hotson and the regular back row trio of Ben Russell, Chevvy Pennycook and skipper Mark Bright will continue.

Lewis Thiede comes onto the replacements bench to provide front row cover and there is a spot for the dual-registered Sam Twomey. There is also a return to first team action for winger David Howells, who forms part of a four forwards and three backs split.

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

Replacements:
16 Nic Mayhew, 17 Harry Allen, 18 Lewis Thiede, 19 Sam Twomey
20 Ross Samson, 21 PJ Gidlow, 22 David Howells

Jersey

Ben Harvey includes three new signings in his starting XV as Jersey seek to defy the form-book and clinch the double over the Exiles

Significant changes in the back-line include Mark McCrea, signed this week from Connacht, in the centre alongside Max Stelling, while the experienced Mark Foster, a loan signing from Exeter, is selected on the wing.

Barry Davies returns at full-back following suspension, with Mike Le Bourgeois switching to fly-half.

The Jersey pack has a more familiar look, with the exception of another new face, Charlie-Walker Blair - the former Exeter man replaces Kingsley Lang, who moves to the bench.

Charlie Clare gets the nod at hooker, with Dave Felton hoping to make some second-half impact as a substitute.

Jersey's replacements also include two men who have captained the side - Tongan back-five forward Talite Vaioleti, and scrum-half Dave McCormack.

Jersey
1 Sean McCarthy 2 Charlie Clare 3 Jon Brennan 4 Nathan Hannay
5 Dave Markham 6 Charlie Walker-Blair 7 Fred Silcock 8 Guy Thompson
9 Nicky Griffiths (capt) 10 Michael Le Bourgeois 11 Ed Dawson
12 Mark McCrea 13 Max Stelling 14 Mark Foster 15 Barry Davies

Replacements
16 Richard Barrington 17 Dave Felton 18 James Gethings 19 Talite Vaioleti
20 Kingsley Lang 21 Dave McCormack 22 Donovan Sanders


Moseley v Doncaster - Saturday 15:00

MoseleyDoncaster KnightsMoseley v Doncaster 
Billesley Common
Saturday 2 March
Kick Off 3pm

Moseley

This is a massively important match for both teams given their precarious positions near the foot of the table. In their previous League matches Moseley were well beaten by leaders Newcastle at Kingston Park, whilst Doncaster gained an impressive victory at home against Leeds.

When the teams last met in the autumn the Yorkshire side denied their Midlands rivals a losing bonus point with the last kick of the match.

Coaches Kevin Maggs and Dave Hilton expect the match to be finely balanced once again. "We came off second best up front at Castle Park" Hilton said.

 "Our forwards know that we need to at least gain parity at the set pieces this time, so that our backs have a fair share of the ball. We would then have a good chance of gaining revenge for the autumn defeat".

Moseley
1.Ethan Waller;  2. Adam Caves;  3. Ben Evans; 4.Addison Lockley
5. Mike Powell;  6. Neil Mason;  7. Ben Pons; 8. Ben Pienaar
9. Sam Brown; 10. Glynn Hughes; 11 Billy Robinson;
12. Anthony Carter; 13. Greg King; 14. Simon Hunt; 15. Oliver Thomas

Replacements:
16.Danny Herriott; 17. Sam Dickinson; 18. Sam Wilkes; 19. Buster Lawrence
20. Oliver Robinson; 21. Ryan Glynn; 22. Brad Hunt

Doncaster

Clive Griffiths has announced another strong side, including debutant Will Sharp, to take on Moseley in the relegation dogfight at Billesley Common tomorrow, as they attempt to claim the double over their Midlands’ rivals.

In the only change to the backline from the 23-17 victory last time out against Leeds Carnegie, Griffiths has selected the rugby league convert at outside centre, replacing the injured Will Simpson. Sharp is partnered in the centres by Tom Luke, who retains his place after a fine display two weeks ago.

Jamie Lennard and Joe Bedford continue their half-back partnership after both impressing last time out, particularly fly-half Lennard who scored a notable 18 points.

In the forwards, Brian McGovern starts at loose-head prop instead of Tom Davies who is suspended due to poor disciplinary for the fixture. He is partnered in the front row by Rhys Buckley and Jerry Cronin, who keeps his place at tight-head having impressed in the set-piece.

There are no other changes in the pack, after a dominant display by the forwards in the Yorkshire derby with Will Hafu keeping his spot at openside flanker after a Man of the Match last time out.

Hooker Ben Sowery and second-row Phil Hoy both make returns from injury to take their place amongst the replacements having had game time on loan in Hull. Andy Brown has been recalled from Coventry after a short and successful spell on loan at the former Championship club to take his place on the bench, whilst Andy Boyde is also elected in the match day squad after a fortnight with Harrogate.

The Knights have however suffered a blow ahead of the match with the news prop Tom Francis will not take part in the match after he was ruled out for an unknown amount of time with injury.

Doncaster Knights
15. Connor Braid, 14. Michael Keating 13. Will Sharp 12. Tom Luke
11. Tyson Lewis 10. Jamie Lennard 9. Joe Bedford
1. Brian McGovern 2. Rhys Buckley 3. Jerry Cronin 4. Matt Challinor
5. Dominic Parsons 6. Adam Kettle 7. Will Hafu 8. Chris Planchant

Replacemenst
16. Andy Brown 17. Jack Bergmanus 18. Ben Sowery 19. Phil Hoy
20. Andy Boyde 21. Chris Hallam 22. Dante Mama

What The Papers Say

The Star: Knights 'face six massive games'

The Knights are still in last place in the Championship but the gap to second bottom Jersey was cut to one point with the impressive 23-17 win over Leeds a fortnight ago.

Victory this weekend could take Doncaster above their hosts who sit three points above in the standings.

Doncaster Knights boss Clive Griffiths expects a tough test against a Moseley side who will be determined to avoid defeat.

But he says confidence in the Knights camp is at a new high following their heroics against Leeds.

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk/sport/rugby-union

Brian Dick Birmingham Mail: Caves looking for breathing space

When most of your life has been spent clad in Red and Black and reconciling Rudyard Kipling’s twin imposters, knockabouts such as this weekend’s Moseley-Doncaster meeting barely register on the drama-crisis spectrum.

Certainly anyone who utters the phrase ‘biggest game in the club’s history’ within ear-shot of Adam Caves will get little more than a shrug and a suggestion they might want to check their copy of The Seismic Battles of Moseley Rugby Club 2002-13.

“We have been much closer to the precipice,” the hooker says sagely. “I have been down to the last game, so I am far from losing sleep over it or being concerned about anybody else.”

Yet if tomorrow’s Championship set-to between the bottom-placed Knights and Caves’ Moseley, two rungs and three points better off, is not a demotion decider, the 30-year-old admits it is a match that could do with being won.

Full Story www.birminghammail.co.uk


Rotherham Titans v Newcastle Falcons - Saturday 15:00

Rotherham Titans Newcastle FalconsRotherham Titans v Newcastle 
Clifton lane
Saturday 2 March
Kick Off 3pm

Rotherham Titans

Rotherham Titans are ready to face their toughest test of the year at Clifton Lane, when runaway league leaders Newcastle Falcons come to Clifton Lane on Saturday.

Titans have made six changes to their starting line-up that last took to the field in the Championship two weeks ago at Bristol.

One of the six changes Titans have made sees new recruit Curtis Wilson goes straight into the side on the wing. Wilson arrived at Clifton Lane this week on loan for the remainder of the season from fellow Yorkshire Championship outfit Leeds Carnegie. The other change in the backline comes at inside centre, where Pale Nonu replaces player-coach Lee Blackett.

In the pack there a complete change to the front row with Jamie Kilbane, Ted Stagg and Gareth Denman selected for ‘coal face’ duties. Latu Makaafi gets the nod at blind side flanker to complete the changes.

Titans will be aiming to go closer than they did in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, where they went down 33-0 on Tyneside. The overall head to head between the sides sees Rotherham still searching for their first success over their North East rivals in 8 previous attempts.

Ahead of Saturday’s match, Titans Head Coach Alex Codling explained, “This game has been on our radar for a while and the boys are chomping at the bit in readiness. There’s obviously a split in the camp with the boys who are in the 22 who are delighted and the boys who aren’t in the mix for Saturday who are obviously frustrated, but that’s natural because all the boys are desperate to play.

“It is the biggest game of the season here and it’s an opportunity both individually and collectively for the boys to test themselves against a quality outfit, who are outstanding and are on a fabulous run right now. The ambition of the majority of the boys is to play at the next level and this game will give them a good gauge of where they’re at.

“Curtis Wilson has come in on loan for the rest of the season and we want to have a look at him in a competitive environment early on. He’s a real finisher and it will be interesting to see how he goes.

“There have been a lot of tight calls this week and you could flip 3 or 4 of them either way, but you have to make a judgement call. Sometimes it’s on form; sometimes it’s on gut-feeling, the opposition or even the weather conditions. You only know on a Monday whether you got the tight calls right or not.

“Are we underdogs for Saturday; of course we are. But we are at home and that’s a huge factor here at Clifton Lane and we are very excited by the opportunity that lies ahead. All I can ask is the boys give it 100% and if that’s enough great, if not I can’t ask them for anymore.”

Titans:
15 Garry Law (Capt.), 14 Mike Doneghan, 13 Eamonn Sheridan, 12 Pale Nonu
11 Curtis Wilson, 10 James McKinney, 9 Charlie Mulchrone
1 Jamie Kilbane, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Gareth Denman
4 Ben Thomas, 5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Latu Makaafi, 7 Carl Kirwan, 8 Toby Freeman.

Replacements:
16 Jared Saunders, 17 Marshall Gadd, 18 Ross Davies, 19 Laurence Pearce
20 Alex Rieder, 21 Lee Blackett, 22 Jimmy Williams.

Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle Falcons are unchanged for this Saturday’s RFU Championship trip to Rotherham .

On the back of last weekend’s 50-3 crushing of Cornish Pirates Dean Richards has stuck with the same XV as the Falcons continue their march towards the end of season play-offs.

Michael Tait retains his place at outside centre alongside Jamie Helleur, while Ryan Shortland and Andrew Higgins occupy both wings.

Rory Lawson and Jimmy Gopperth form a mouth-watering half-back combination, with Tom Catterick pulling on the No.15 jersey for the sixth time in a row.

Meanwhile five of the pack came through the Falcons’ academy system with Grant Shiells, Matt Thompson, Oliver Tomaszczyk, Mark Wilson and skipper Will Welch all starting upfront.

James Hudson and Scottish capped duo Scott MacLeod and Ally Hogg round off the pack.

Falcons boss Richards is expecting a physical battle against the South Yorkshire club as his charges look to make it 17 league wins on the spin.

“Rotherham have big lumpy forwards, and I think their pitch is the narrowest pitch in the league so it will be a very hard game down there,” said Richards.

He added: “The boys have been working hard and it has been nice to see the backs turn it on in the last few weeks.”

Asked about new recruit Cato, Richards said: “Noah came here with a touch of Tonsillitis and he has just started training with us fully and we will see how things develop over the next ten days.

“It will be about getting him used to our style of play – there is no doubt about his ability as a finisher and it will be about him learning about us, and us learning about him.”

Newcastle Falcons:
15 Tom Catterick, 14 Andrew Higgins, 13 Michael Tait, 12 Jamie Helleur
11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Rory Lawson
1 Grant Shiells, 2 Matt Thompson, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Scott MacLeod
5 James Hudson, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ally Hogg

Replacements:
16 George McGuigan, 17 James Hall, 18 Sean Tomes, 19 Taiasina Tu’ifua
20 Warren Fury, 21 Joel Hodgson, 22 Alex Crockett

What The Papers Say

The Star: Curtis is in at the deep end

ROTHERHAM’S latest signing, 20-year-old winger Curtis Wilson, who joined from Leeds Carnegie, makes his Titans’ debut tomorrow against Newcastle Falcons.

Rotherham’s coach, Alex Codling, has no doubts at all about Wilson’s ability to cope with the pressure of playing against the side that are unbeaten in the league and are clear favourites to regain their place in the Premiership next season.

“Curtis is a born finisher, has great footwork and long term potential. I first saw him playing for Otley against Barking a few years ago and was impressed then.

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk/sport/rugby-union

Mark (R) Smith, The Journal: There'll be no let up from Falcons, Scott MacLeod

DESPITE securing play-off rugby with six games left to go, Scott MacLeod insists he and his Newcastle Falcons team-mates are ready to roll up their sleeves at Rotherham tomorrow.

The Yorkshire club have one of the narrowest fields in English rugby, meaning hard yards through the middle are where this one will be won.

“I remember playing them at Kingston Park in the snow earlier in the season, and they were a big bunch of lads,” said MacLeod, the Scottish veteran who is expected to form part of an unchanged line-up for the Clifton Lane encounter.

“They have a really physical pack, and some back-row guys who carry hard. Their line-out, scrum and maul are all solid, but rather than worrying about that the guys are just buzzing from last weekend and looking to build on that.”

Full Story www.journallive.co.uk/newcastle-sports


Leeds Carnegie v Cornish Pirates - Sunday 15:00

Leeds CarnegieCornish PiratesLeeds Carnegie v Cornish Pirates 
Cross Green, Otley
Sunday March 3rd
Kick Off 3pm

Live On BBC Radio Cornwall

Leeds Carnegie

Second row Matt Smith will start for Leeds Carnegie this Sunday against his former club Cornish Pirates  at Otley

Smith comes in for a fellow former Pirate, Mike Myerscough, who has been ruled out by an injury picked up in the defeat to Doncaster a fortnight ago.

Matt Clark returns on the wing for Leeds Carnegie in place of Christian Georgiou whilst Joe Ford is drafted onto the bench.

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

Replacements
16. Scott Freer 17. Lee Imiolek 18. James Currie 19. Pierce Phillips
20. Chris Walker 21. James Doherty 22. Joe Ford

Cornish Pirates

For the second week in a row the Pirates cross the Tamar for a long journey north, last week top of the table Newcastle, this week, the eagerly anticipated match with Leeds at Cross Green, Otley.

With both sides on 41 points, one behind Bristol on 42 and the Pirates in 5th above Leeds with one more win, this is a game which could having a major bearing on which of the three sides gain the 4th play-off place.

The Pirates are still disrupted with injuries but welcome back to the starting line-up the centre pairing of Junior Fatialofa and Tom Riley, plus fly-half Kieran Hallett and wing Matt Evans.

In the forwards there are returns for front-rowers Paul Andrew (making his 99th appearance), Rob Elloway and Ben Prescott, lock David Lyons and No. 8 Kyle Marriott who will skipper the side.

Cornish Pirates:
15 Grant Pointer, 14 Ashley Smith, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Junior Fatialofa
11 Matt Evans,10 Keiron Hallett, 9 Tom Kessell
8 Kyle Marriott (capt), 7 Alex Cheesman, 6 Phil Burgess, 5 Gary Johnson
4 David Lyons, 3 Ben Prescott, 2 Rob Elloway, 1 Paul Andrew.

Replacements:
R. Storer, D. Semmens, P. Joyce, D. Barry, J. Tyas, G. Cattle, A. Penberthy.


Nottingham v Plymouth Albion - Sunday 15:00

NottinghamPlymouth AlbionNottingham v Plymouth Albion 
Meadow Lane
Sunday March 3rd
Kick Off 3pm

Nottingham

Nottingham captain Brent Wilson returns to the starting line-up for this clash with Albion at Meadow Lane.

Nottingham boss Martin Haag has made seven further changes with Matt Parr, Ryan Bower and Joe Quinn coming into the pack.

Injury sees Bower come in for Michael Holford at tighthead prop and Joe Quinn slots in at lock after Dan Montagu struggled to train during the week.

Parr returns to the starting XV after being rested last week which sees Jonny Harris move back to the bench.

Joe Cobden retains his place at outside centre after coming on before half-time in last week's win over the Drovers.  He replaces Tim Streather who was forced off with a hamstring injury.

Joe Munro  will partner Cobden in the centres with Andy Forsyth dropping to the bench.

England under-20 international Harry Wells joins Nottingham from Premiership neighbours Leicester Tigers on dual-registration and is poised to make his debut after being named on the replacements bench.

Haag said: "Harry is a talented young player and has trained strongly this week and I'd like to thank Richard Cockerill for letting him join us.

"We have made a few changes with guys like Holford, Montagu and Streather struggling to overcome niggling problems in time for the weekend.

"This is a good opportunity for a number of players to come in and impress."

Nottingham
15 Andrew Savage 14 David Jackson 13 Joe Cobden 12 Joe Munro
11 Alex Lewington 10 James Arldige 9 Sean Romans
1 Matt Parr 2 Joe Duffey 3 Ryan Bower 4Joe Quinn
5 Nic Rouse 6 Rupert Cooper 7 Brent Wilson 8 Alex Shaw.

Replacement::
16 Shaun Malton 17 Jonny Harris 18 Harry Wells 19 Tom Calladine 20 Finlay Barnham 21 Rory Lynn 22 Andy Forsyth.

Plymouth Albion

Canadian international Brett Beukeboom returns to Plymouth Albion’s team for Sunday’s trip to Meadow Lane.

Beukeboom missed Albion’s narrow 28-27 defeat to second-placed Bedford in the club’s last outing two weeks ago due to an infection, but he has recovered to feature against the Green and Whites.

He takes over in the second-row from Fijian Rupeni Nasiga, who has a knee problem.

That is the only change Albion make to their team that impressed against Bedford.

Albion have never won at Meadow Lane, but coach Nat Saumi is not one to worry about past results.

He is just looking towards Sunday and hoping his team can pick up some more valuable points to keep them going in the right direction. Saumi’s side have collected five bonus points in their last three games.

“Nottingham is always a hard place to go,” said Saumi. “But we have got nothing to lose and we just have to go and play our rugby and just see what we come out with. Hopefully, we will come back with something.”

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

Replacements:
16 Paul Rowley 17 Paul Bailey 18 Ben Rogers 19 David Morton
20 Tom Cowan-Dickie 21 Wayne Sprangle 22 Sam Matavesi.

What The Papers Say

Nottingham Post: Cooper: Greens can't afford slow start again

NOTTINGHAM Rugby back row Rupert Cooper is expecting a tough encounter when Plymouth Albion visit Meadow Lane on Sunday

Nottingham overturned a 15-point deficit to inflict a first home defeat of the season on Albion back in October, in what is always a closely-fought game.

But ahead of the return fixture, Cooper has warned the Greens cannot afford to gift their opponents a lead so easily this time out.

"We've got to take it from the off and make sure we're leading throughout the game."

Full Story www.thisisnottingham.co.uk


Signings To This Week's Deadline (so far)


Cornish Pirates

Cornish PiratesScrum-half Chris Cook and utility backOllie Devoto have signed for the Cornish Pirates on dual-registration agreements with Bath Rugby.

Both players have represented England under 20s

Will Tanner, hooker also signed for the Cornish Pirates earlier in the week on a dual-registration agreement with Bath Rugby.

Aged 20, the Birmingham-born former England U16 and U18 international made his debut for Bath in the Aviva Premiership against Sale in December, 2011 and has also had loan spells at Clifton, Taunton and Bristol.

Doncaster Knights

Doncaster KnightsDoncaster Knights have signed  Ben Hooper from local rivals Leeds Carnegie on loan until the end of the season.

The front-rower will join up with Clive Griffiths side for the remainder of the Championship season.

Hooper, who joined Leeds from Rotherham ahead of the 2012/13 season, has made 14 appearances for them this campaign, including four starts, scoring one try in the process.

Jersey

Jersey RugbyMark Foster and Mark McCrea, both three-quarters, have signed for Jersey, joining from Exeter Chiefs and Connacht respectively.

Foster spent six seasons with Gloucester, playing in both the Premiership and Heineken Cup, before signing for Exeter in summer 2009.. He joins Jersey on loan until the end of the current season.

25-year-old McCrea  spent two-and-a-half seasons playing professionally for his native province of Ulster prior to signing for Connacht in summer 2011.  He has signed for Jersey until the end of the 2013/14 season.

Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle FalconsNewcastle Falcons have signed of Noah Cato from Northampton Saints.

The 24-year-old former England Saxon joins the Falcons until the end of the current campaign .

Prior to joining the Saints in the summer of 2011, Cato enjoyed a four year stint with Saracens where he picked up an Aviva Premiership winners’ medal and finished the club’s top try scorer in the 2008-09 season.

Nottingham

NottinghamJoe Munro, Rupert Cooper and Joe Cobden have signed contract extensions with Nottingham

Cobden, 21, has committed to another two seasons, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2014/15 season, with Cooper, 25, and Munro, 22, re-signing until the end of the 2013/14 campaign.

Green and Whites Head Coach Martin Haag said:

“I’m delighted that all three have signed, they have been key players in what we have been trying to achieve this season.

Plymouth Albion

Plymouth AlbionPLYMOUTH Albion coach Nat Saumi has signed former Munster fly-half Declan Cusack.

Cusack found himself as fourth choice number 10 at Munster behind Ronan O'Gara, Ian Keatley and Scott Deasy.

He will be reunited at Brickfieldswith his former Munster A half-back partner Paul Rowley.

Rotherham Titans

Rotherham Titans Curtis Wilson has joined Rotherham Titans on loan for the remainder of the season.

Curtis arrives at Clifton Lane from fellow Championship side Leeds Carnegie and will add to the competition for a wing berth.

The 20 yr-old London born flyer comes with a reputation of a speedster, who has tremendous footwork and is a quality finisher. Curtis has represented Yorkshire U18s and North of England U18’s.