RFU Championship News Round 19

Round 22

RFU Championship News


RFU Championship News + Round 22 Teams & Previews

RFU ChampionshipPlus news and comment from around the clubs and what the papers say.

Saturday 20 April 2013 – All Kick Off 15:00

Cornish Pirates v Jersey - Live Video Stream At @RFUChampionship
Doncaster v Plymouth Albion
Leeds Carnegie v Nottingham - BBC Radio Leeds
Moseley v Bedford
Newcastle v Bristol - BBC Radio Bristol
Rotherham Titans v London Scottish

Cornish Pirates v Jersey Live On Twitter

The RFU Championship will make social media history, broadcasting the first ever live rugby union fixture via Twitter.

Following a public vote in which supporters were asked to choose the game they wanted to see streamed live, Cornish Pirates and Jersey will take to the field in front of a Twitter audience in the final round of the league stage

The live streaming will start at 2.45pm via a video player on the @RFUChampionship Twitter page. The coverage will begin with pre-match interviews from both head coaches, before the game kicks off at 3pm.

Viewers can share their thoughts on the game throughout using #rfuchamplive, some of which will be read out live on air by the commentary team.

Using the same hashtag, viewers can also nominate their Man of the Match after the 60-minute mark, the winner of which will be presented with a specially designed Twitter Man of the Match bottle of champagne. And of course, there will be regular updates from the other final league games.

To get involved, simply follow @RFUChampionship. Updates and information will be tweeted throughout the day, as well as a reminder of how to get involved using #rfuchamplive.

@RFUChampionship live Twitter stream: how to get involved!

This should be simple and straight forward, anyone used to following us on Pirates TV should recognise similar features on the video player.

Cornish Pirates v Jersey  - Saturday 15:00

Cornish PiratesJersey RugbyCornish Pirates v Jersey    
Mennaye Field
Saturday 20 April
Kick Off 3pm

Live Video Stream At

Cornish Pirates

Jersey will arrive in Cornwall in buoyant mood having avoided relegation after their first season in the RFU Championship, with the pressure off, both teams should be able to play some highly attractive rugby.

There will be a range of emotions at the Mennaye Field, as prop Paul Andrew is off to Worcester Warriors, flanker Phil Burgess is joining England 7s and winger Wes Davies is retiring after 136 games for the Pirates.

Besides the rugby on offer, the inimitable Falmouth Marine Band will also be present.

Cornish Pirates:
15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Wes Davies, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Sam Hill
11 Matt Evans, 10 Keiran Hallett, 9 Gavin Cattle (capt)
8 Ben Maidment, 7 Phil Burgess, 6 James Tyas, 5 Gary Johnson
4 David Lyons, 3 Peter Joyce, 2 Darren Semmens, 1 Paul Andrew.

R. Storer, W. Tanner, M. Maidment, L. McGlone, A. Cheesman, T. Kessell, B. Mercer.

Match Officials
Referee: Tom Foley (RFU)
Assistants: Jonathan Healy & James Minards


Safe from the drop after a tough first season at level two, the Islanders could still move up to 10th, or even ninth, in the final table if they can win at the Mennaye Field and other results go their way.

Although illness and injury denies him four of the players from the team who played Doncaster, Director of Rugby Ben Harvey has selected a strong XV composed of front-line participants in this season's campaign.

In the pack, Sean McCarthy gets that start at loose-head; Richard Barrington is ill, although the reality is that the pair have interchanged throughout the season. There's no place for Leeds-bound Nathan Hannay in the engine room, while Joe Buckle starts at flanker against the team where he also spent time on loan earlier in the season, with Charlie Walker-Blair unfit.

Nat SaumiScrum-half Nicky Griffiths (left) is denied a return trip to the club where he played in 2008/09 by injury, so Dave McCormack returns to the breach at scrum half.

The fourth enforced absence from last weekend is injured full-back Barry Davies, whose place goes to Glenn Bryce. James Copsey drops to the bench, with Max Stelling slotting in at centre.

Jersey's bench includes two players who could make their Championship debut - prop Myles Landick and scrum-half Joel Dudley have had injury-plagued seasons but returned to action in the B&I Cup game at Pontypridd two weeks ago.

1 Sean McCarthy 2 Elvis Taione 3 Jon Brennan 4 Rob Anderson
5 Dave Markham 6 Fred Silcock 7 Joe Buckle 8 Guy Thompson
9 Dave McCormack 10 Michael Le Bourgeois 11 Ed Dawson
12 David Bishop (capt) 13 Max Stelling 14 Mark Foster 15 Glenn Bryce

Myles Landick, Dave Felton, James Gethings, James Voss
Joel Dudley, Donovan Sanders, James Copsey

What The Papers Say

Dick Straughan, The Cornishman:- Biljon In Rallying Call To Fans For Finale

Having scored eight tries in their last two league outings the Pirates will be looking to end on a high.

And assistant coach Harvey Biljon has issued a rallying call to supporters.

He said: "For anyone who can get down to the Mennaye, I would say that if the boys play anything like they did at Nottingham it will be a real show and real entertainment for the fans. They will enjoy the whole occasion."

Full Story www.thisiscornwall.co.uk

Doncaster v Plymouth Albion - Saturday 15:00

Doncaster KnightsPlymouth AlbionDoncaster v Plymouth Albion   
Castle Park
Saturday 20 April
Kick Off 3pm



Clive Griffiths has announced his Doncaster Knights team for the final time this season with scrum-half Chris Hallam making his 100th appearance for the club against Plymouth Albion at Castle Park tomorrow.

After Wednesday night's breathtaking 38-26 defeat at Bedford, with the Knights producing some scintillating attacking rugby against one of the league’s top sides in a ten try thriller, the home crowd will be hoping for a final flourish to end the season in style.

Griffiths’ side will be hoping to give the Castle Park faithful something to cheer about as the Knights look forward to next season and embarking on a new era.

Tom LukeThere is only one change to the back line that performed so admirably midweek with the reintroduction of Tom Luke at inside centre. Luke is partnered by the in form Dante Mama who has scored two tries in his last three games.

Connor Braid moves to outside-half in a half back pairing with vice captain Chris Hallam making his landmark appearance. Tyson Lewis and Dougie Flockhart remain on the wings with Michael Keating retaining the full-back spot for the final match of the campaign.

There are two changes in the Knights’ front row with the recently impressive Andy Brown getting the nod at loose-head and young starlet hooker Jack Bergmanas selected in the number 2 jersey alongside Tomas Francis. Tom Davies and Ben Sowery will be hoping to make an impact from the bench.

Also after a mesmerising debut appearance in the second forty against Bedford, Joseva Nayacavou makes his first start for Doncaster in the final match of the season. The Fijian back rower made a big impression midweek and will no doubt be one to watch in a back row including the dancing Will Hafu and crowd favourite Chris Planchant.

Captain Matt Challinor and Dominic Parsons once again make up the second row pairing, with Andy Boyde and Adam Kettle rested to the bench.

Doncaster Knights
15 Michael Keating 14 Dougie Flockhart 13 Dante Mama 12 Tom Luke
11 Tyson Lewis 10 Connor Braid 9 Chris Hallam
1 Andy Brown 2 Jack Bergmanas 3 Tomas Francis 4 Matt Challinor
5 Dominic Parsons 6 Joseva Nayacavou 7 Will Hafu 8 Chris Planchant

16 Tom Davies 17 Ben Sowery 18 Ben Hooper 19 Adam Kettle
20 Andy Boyde 21 Joe Bedford 22 Will Simpson

Plymouth Albion

For their last game of the season against Doncaster Knights at Castle Park, Plymouth Albion have made nine changes, one of them positional to the side beaten by Newcastle Falcons last weekend.

At full back Louis Messer makes only his third start of the season after recovering from ruptured knee ligaments sustained against Leeds Carnegie last September.

In the centre Bevon Armitage returns from injury to play against his former club, and there is a recall at fly half for this season’s top points scorer Paul Roberts.

Nat SaumiIn the front row Luke Cowan- Dickie (left), who has played for England under 20’s this season, moves across from hooker to loose head prop with his elder brother Tom filling the number 2 shirt.

In the pack there are recalls for lock Len Ascroft-Leigh and flanker Wayne Sprangle who will be playing his last game for the club.

Canadian international Sean-Michael Stephen has been forced out with injury and his place is taken by Harrison Tovey.

The final change sees Herbie Stupple, another who has missed a large part of the season through injury, coming in at No8.

Plymouth will be looking to complete the league double over Doncaster having won 27-22 at Brickfields on the opening day of the season.

The game at Castle Park will be the last for Head Coach Nat Saumi, who is returning to his native Fiji after 17 years in England, 10 of those at Plymouth

Plymouth Albion
15 Louis Messer  14 Lewis Warner 13 Toby Howley- Berridge 12 Bevon Armitage
11 Tom Bowen 10 Paul Roberts 9 Ruairi Cushion capt
1 Luke Cowan-Dickie 2 Tom Cowan-Dickie 3 Lloyd Fairbrother 4 Brett Beukeboom
5 Ien Ascroft- Leigh 6 Harrison Tovey 7 Wayne Sprangle 8 Herbie Stupple

16 Paul Roberts 17 Declan Cusack 18 Dave Morton 19 James Phillips
20 Jamie Salter 21 Alex Brown 22 Sam Matavesi

What The Papers Say

Sara Raine, The Herald:- Saumi Makes Wholesale Changes For Final Match In Charge

Nat SaumiIn previous weeks, Nat Saumi has talked about how tough it has been to select a side. But the Fijian said his final team selection was easy.

"It was not tough this week," he told Herald Sport. "I just looked at the boys who have not been involved for a while – just to give everyone a chance to have a game of rugby before the season finishes."

"I spoke to the boys who won't be involved and I thanked them for the season. I think they appreciated that and they wished the boys good luck."

Full Story www.thisisplymouth.co.uk

Other News This Week

Albion Unvel Shanahan As New Head Coach

Plymouth Albion haveunveiled 36 year old former player James Shanahan as their new Head Coach, replacing Nat Saumi who is returning to his native Fiji after a 10 year association with the club.

James ShanahanShanahan who played for Plymouth Albion in 2002-2003, is currently Director of Rugby at National 1 club Old Albanian RFC as well as being Head Coach of Cambridge University RFC.

Shanahan who gained his level 4 RFU Coaching Certificate in 2012 is well known to Westcountry rugby fans having also played for Exeter Chiefs and the Cornish Pirates.

Announcing the appointment Plymouth Albion Chairman Dr Graham Stirling said, “We had a very competitive field of applicants and James ticked all the relevant boxes. James is a very ambitious and enthusiastic coach and we are delighted he is joining us.”

Shanahan commenting on his appointment said, “I’m really excited to be joining Plymouth Albion. It is going to be a big challenge, but I can’t wait to be coaching one of the top 24 clubs in England.

Shanahan will be using long standing relationships with members of the Exeter Chiefs coaching staff to further develop and strengthen links between the two clubs.

Shanahan played with and against Rob Baxter while he was a player at Exeter and also played alongside Ali Hepher when they were registered with Bedford Blues.

Shanahan knows Robin Cowling from his time at Exeter, and was a team mate of Ricky Pellow during his two seasons at the Cornish Pirates.

Leeds Carnegie v Nottingham  - Saturday 15:00

Leeds CarnegieNottinghamLeeds Carnegie v Nottingham   
Headingley Stadium
Saturday 20 April
Kick Off 3pm

BBC Radio Leeds

Leeds Carnegie

Leeds Carnegie Head Coach, Diccon Edwards, has made three changes to his starting line up to face Nottingham at Headingley Carnegie Stadium  tomorrow.

Edwards’ side have won their last five fixtures in the RFU Championship and head into the game fourth in the league, aiming to finish in a play off place by securing a win against second placed Nottingham in their final game of the regular season.

The changes to the team who defeated Bedford last week sees Fred Burdon return to the starting line up in place of Pete Lucock. James Doherty will start at scrum half and Damien Tussac will start at tighthead in the places of Craig Hampson and James Currie, who are amongst the replacements.

On the bench Rory Clegg returns, having being ruled out of the Bedford game with a late fitness test on his ankle.

Leeds Carnegie
15. Stevie McColl 14. Oli Goss 13. Josh Griffin 12. Fred Burdon
11. David Doherty 10. Joe Ford 9. James Doherty
1. Lee Imiolek 2. Scott Freer 3. Damien Tussac 4. Calum Green
5. Dominic Barrow 6. Rob Baldwin 7. Chris Walker 8. Jacob Rowan

16. Joe Graham 17. James Currie 18. Ben Harris 19. Pierce Phillips
20. Ryan Burrows 21. Craig Hampson 22. Rory Clegg


Flanker Tom Calladine will captain Nottingham for the first time in the league at Leeds on tomorrow.

The 23-year-old retains his place in the back-row with Brent Wilson given another week off to recover from the back complaint that ruled him out against the Cornish Pirates.

This week, however, Calladine assumes all of Wilson’s duties by stepping up as skipper as well.

Backs coach Ben Johnston said Calladine’s performance against the Pirates, which saw him go over for the try that helped guarantee second place in the league, combined with his impressive showing as stand-in captain against Newcastle in the British and Irish Cup quarter-final, made him the ideal choice to lead the side in the final regular season fixture.

“He did a fantastic job the last time he captained the side, showing great leadership qualities, and we will be looking for a repeat performance against Leeds,” Johnston said.

Calladine said he is relishing the opportunity on the eve of the club’s historic first play-off semi-final campaign.

“It is that little bit sweeter to be captaining the side in a Championship game now,” Calladine said.

“It was good to get called in last minute when Brent was ruled out injured against Pirates, and now to be trusted with the captaincy shows that (head coach) Martin Haag believes that I have what it takes to lead the side.”

Martin HaagMartin Haag makes seven changes to the side that beat Pirates for the trip to Headingley Stadium to meet their play-off rivals.

Former Leicester Tigers Academy scrum-half Harrison Lee-Everton, and dual-registered London Irish back-row forward Alex Gray will make their debuts.

Lee-Everton teams up with fly-half Rory Lynn who comes in for league-leading points scorer James Arlidge, while Gray comes in for the injured Alex Shaw.

In the pack, Jonny Harris continues in the front row while Ryan Bower comes in at tighthead prop ahead of Michael Holford who moves to the bench. Lock Joe Quinn slots in alongside Dan Montagu in the second row.

Joe Cobden comes in at outside-centre and David Jackson returns to full-back.

Nottingham Rugby:
15 David Jackson 14 Alex Lewington 13 Joe Cobden 12 Joe Munro
11 Rhys Crane 10 Rory Lynn 9 Harrison Lee-Everton
1 Jonny Harris 2 Joe Duffey 3 Ryan Bower 4 Dan Montagu
5 Joe Quinn 6 Rupert Cooper 7 Tom Calladine 8 Alex Gray.

16 Shaun Malton 17 Michael Holford 18 Tom Price 19 Phil Eggleshaw
20 Sean Romans 21 James Arlidge 22 Andy Forsyth.

What The Papers Say

Yorkshire Post:- Leeds Carnegie: Let's make most of our late surge - Edwards

Edwards’ side have risen to third in the table following this penultimate game of the season and face second-placed Nottingham next Saturday afternoon at Headingley Carnegie to cement their top-four play-off place.

Edwards said: “I am very proud of the squad. They showed how much they have matured this season. We are the youngest squad in the Championship and it is great to see the development we have made throughout this season, coming together to secure a win against an experienced Bedford side on their own patch.

“Our fate is in our hands now and we need to make the most of it on Saturday against Nottingham.”

Full Story  ww.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk

Other News This Week

Hughes & Hannay Sign For Leeds

Leeds Carnegie have strengthened their squad for next season with the signing of fly half Glyn Hughes, 21, from Moseley, and Jersey captain Nathan Hannay, 28, on two year contracts.

Hughes has impressed this season at Moseley after joining the club from the Northampton Academy last summer. He was part of the Moseley team that gave Leeds a fright at Billesley Common ten days ago as the home side fought back from 26-3 down after 16 minutes to narrowly lose out 29-20.

Second rower Hannay was named captain of Jersey at the start of their first season in the Championship this year. His performances for the Islanders earned him a call up to the Championship XV where he impressed Leeds Head Coach Diccon Edwards.

Nottingham trio set to leave

Nottingham have announced that prop Matt Parr, lock Nic Rouse and centre Tim Streather will be leaving the club at the end of the season.

Streather, 24, has penned a deal with Premiership leaders Saracens, while front five forwards Parr, 30, and Rouse, 31, have signed with top-flight club London Irish.

Head coach Martin Haag, who signed a two-year contract extension with the Meadow Lane club last week, said: “It is always sad to see players go, but Nic, Matt and Tim have done a tremendous amount for this club over a number of years.

“All three have fitted into the ethos and shown the character of a Nottingham player.

“They have been a big part of the team this season, putting us in a great position to challenge for premiership promotion and I know they are going to continue to perform at their best for as long as they wear Nottingham Rugby’s colours.

Nottingham hooker Duffey set to retire

Nottingham hooker Joe Duffey has announced the he will retire from professional rugby at the end of the season.

Duffey, who has played more than 200 games over three spells with Nottingham, will return home to New Zealand with his young family as he turns his attention to life after the game.

New investors needed as Nottingham Rugby secures second in league

As Nottingham Rugby secured second place in the RFU Championship at the weekend, the board has announced that additional investment is now needed as the current owners can no longer underwrite the club’s funding gap.

We’ve had an excellent season, better than we expected when we set out our objectives this time last year. But achieving this success comes at a high cost and due to a change in their circumstances our owners can no longer meet the current financial demands of the club,” said Nottingham Rugby Chairman, Alistair Bow.“

Luke and Jason would both like to stay involved, but in order for us to carry on playing at the top of the RFU Championship challenging for promotion, we need to bring additional funding in. We have already identified one or two new investors, but we still need more funds to bridge the gap this season,” added Bow.

Moseley v Bedford - Saturday 15:00

MoseleyBedford BluesMoseley v Bedford   
Billesley Common
Saturday 20 April
Kick Off 3pm



Moseley face one of their oldest adversaries, Bedford Blues, in their last match of this season at Billesley Common on Saturday.

Although Moseley are now safe from any relegation fears, courtesy of a bonus point achieved at Rotherham last week, Bedford will be competing to secure third place in the play-offs. With both sides favouring an attacking approach, the game is sure to be played at high tempo, and a try-fest is on the cards.

Coaches Maggs and Hilton have taken the opportunity to rotate their squad this week-end, although there are enforced absences from last week’s team, most notably Neil Mason and Danny Herriot both through injury.

When Moseley visited Goldington Road in the early autumn they suffered a heavy defeat. With this match set for the Moseley Old Players’ Reunion, the current wearers of red and black will certainly be looking to gain recompense.

1.Craig Voisey; 2. Sam Wilkes; 3.Adam Parkins; 4. Addison Lockley
5. Mike Powell; 6. Buster Lawrence; 7. Oliver Robinson; 8.Ben Piennar;
9.Ryan Glynn; 10. Brad Davies; 11.Paul Diggin;
12. Anthony Carter; 13. Tom Stephenson; 14. Simon Hunt; 15. Billy Robinson

16.Steffan Thorp; 17. Matt Williams; 18. Ben Evans 19. Glynn Hughes
20.Caolan Ryan; 21. Ollie Thomas; 22. Bradley Hunt


Bedford Blues make the relatively short journey to Billesley common to face Moseley on Saturday afternoon.

It has been quite a week for the Blues which saw them defeated at home to Leeds last Saturday but then they shook themselves down and ran in six tries during a 38-26 midweek win over Doncaster which confirmed the Knights relegation.

Squad rotation is key once again with Blues Director of Rugby Mike Rayer making seven personnel changes to the team that beat the Knights with Mark Atkinson, James Stephenson, Jake Sharp, Luke Baldwin, Dan Seal, Neil Cochrane and Tom Armes all starting while Gregor Gillanders captain’s the team.

Bedford Blues 
15. Mark Atkinson 14. James Stephenson 13. Ollie Dodge 12. Myles Dorrian
11. James Short  10. Jake Sharp 9. Luke Baldwin
1. Dan Seal 2. Neil Cochrane 3. Phil Boulton 4. Mike Howard
5. Paul Tupai 6. Gregor Gillanders (c) 7. Tom Armes 8. Nick Fenton-Wells

16. Scott Spurling, 17. Ricky Reeves, 18. Ben Cooper, 19. Joe Vandermolen
20. Darren Fox, 21. Darryl Veenendaal, 22. Ian Vass

What The Papers Say

Mark Wood, Bedford Today:- Blues Target Moseley Win And Third Place Finish

Play-off hopefuls Bedford Blues are wary of lowly Moseley throwing a ‘spanner in the works’ when they travel to Billesley Common on Saturday, writes Mark Wood.

Two-try hero from the midweek win at Doncaster Knights, Ollie Dodge said: “We’re just looking for Moseley on Saturday now. We know how good they are on their patch and given their results recently they can really put a spanner in the works. We’ve got to go there and really play our best.

“Obviously we want to win every single game we play, so we are definitely going out there for that.”

Full Story  www.bedfordtoday.co.uk

Other News This Week

Bedford Today:- Blues loan star Dorrian heads for London Irish

Myles DorrianOn-loan Bedford Blues star Myles Dorrian is heading back into the Premiership next season with London Irish.

The Exeter Chiefs fly-half is with Bedford until the end of the season but will then head to the Madejski Stadium.

The 30-year-old Sydney-born Australian said:“I have enjoyed playing at Exeter and coming back to Bedford towards the back end of this season - but it is time for a new test and London Irish is a great place to take on this new challenge.”

Full Story www.bedfordtoday.co.uk

Newcastle Falcons v Bristol - Saturday 15:00

Newcastle FalconsBristol RugbyNewcastle v Bristol  
Kingston Park
Saturday 20 April
Kick Off 3pm

BBC Radio Bristol


Jimmy Gopperth starts at fly-half for tomorrow’s RFU Championship clash with Bristol Rugby at Kingston Park after recovering from a slight hamstring injury that kept him out of last week’s trip to Plymouth Albion

The Kiwi goal-kicking supremo partners Warren Fury at half-back and is one of four changes as the Falcons look to finish the regular season with a perfect 22 wins out of 22 ahead of the play-offs.

Hard-hitting centre James Fitzpatrick gets the chance to shine alongside Adam Powell at the heart of the northeasterners’ backline, while Tom Catterick switches to full-back with fellow Barnard Castle Alumni Alex Tait moving to the wing.

In the pack Jonny Golding replaces Grant Shiells at loose-head prop, and Mark Wilson returns to the back-row in place of Ollie Stedman.

With the Falcons in the box seat to complete the season with a 100% record, Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards insists his side are taking each game one step at a time.

He said: “The one thing that we have been good at this year is putting what has gone on in the past few months behind us, and just taking one game at a time and focussing upon that.

“There is no doubt that the players will do that, and it is not so much about an unbeaten record, it is about winning the game and the players are good at that.”

Newcastle came away from Bristol with a 37-20 victory on the opening day of the season in the reverse fixture thanks to tries from Luke Fielden (2), Tane Tu’ipulotu and Ally Hogg.

Gopperth, who kicked five penalties and a conversion in that game, is wary of the threat posed by Andy Robinson’s troops.

“Bristol are coming up here needing to win so it is going to be a good challenge for us, and we are really looking forward to it,” said Gopperth.

He added: “We have just got to make sure that we are on our game and look after the ball as they are going to be looking for turnovers and score points.

“Discipline is going to be key for us, and it is important that we play our own game, relax and enjoy ourselves.

“One of our goals at the start of the year was to not just get promoted, but to win every game along the way.”

Newcastle Falcons:
15 Tom Catterick, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Adam Powell, 12 James Fitzpatrick
11 Alex Tait, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Warren Fury
1 Jonny Golding, 2 Matt Thompson, 3 Scott Wilson, 4 Scott MacLeod
5 Carlo del Fava, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ally Hogg

16 Rob Vickers, 17 James Hall, 18 James Goode, 19 Richard Mayhew
20 Jordi Pasqualin, 21 Joel Hodgson, 22 Michael Tait


Andy Robinson makes one change to the line-up as Bristol Rugby visit unbeaten Newcastle Falcons on the final day of the RFU Championship campaign.

The Director of Rugby keeps faith with the majority of players that earned a bonus point win at London Scottish as his side bid for a place in the play-offs.

Iain Grieve returns as skipper in place of Redford Pennycook, who misses out with a hip injury.

To stand any chance of a top-four finish, Bristol must beat table-topping Falcons and hope other results go their way.

Ever-present centre Luke Eves starts alongside Fautua Otto in the midfield, while Jon Goodridge – who bagged a brace against the Exiles – remains at full back.

In the pack, Jason Hobson continues in the front row, while Mariano Sambucetti will look to extend his prolific try-scoring form – the lock has three tries in the last three games.

Robinson retains a four forwards and three backs split on the replacements bench, with Mitch Eadie coming into the 22-man squad.

Bristol Rugby
Jon Goodridge; George Watkins, Fautua Otto, Luke Eves, Ryan Edwards
Adrian Jarvis, Ruki Tipuna; Kyle Traynor, Ross Johnston, Jason Hobson
Mariano Sambucetti, Glen Townson, Iain Grieve (c), James Merriman, Marco Mama.

Rhys Lawrence, Bruce Douglas, Roy Winters, Mitch Eadie
James Grindal, Tristan Roberts, Jack Tovey.

What The Papers Say

Mark Smith, The Journal:- Richards and Robinson Rivalry moves to the dugout

DEAN Richards and Andy Robinson both have the battle scars to vouch for their numerous skirmishes during illustrious playing careers, but will be rivals on the touch-line tomorrow afternoon.

Richards’ Newcastle Falcons are just 80 minutes away from an unbeaten 22-game regular season – play-off hopefuls Bristol the only thing standing between them and rugby’s equivalent of a nine-dart finish.

Twice in the last three years they (Bristol) have topped the regular-season standings only to blow their promotion hopes by defeat in the play-offs, something the Falcons should be mindful of despite their 25-point lead at the Championship summit.

Still in with a mathematical chance of making the top four this time round if they can become the first side in a calendar year to topple Newcastle, Richards said: “We saw Bristol as genuine title contenders when we played them on the first weekend of the season down there. We still maintain that, and our intention is to knock them out of the play-offs."

Full Story: www.journallive.co.uk

The Bristol Post:- We'll have a good go at Newcastle, says Bristol Rugby's Adrian Jarvis

ADRIAN Jarvis believes Bristol have done as much as they could have in the past three games to remain in with a chance of reaching the Championship play-offs.

Since suffering a surprise defeat at Moseley – which led to the sacking of head coach Liam Middleton – Bristol have beaten Jersey, Plymouth and London Scottish to stay in touch with the play-off pack.

They will realistically need to beat runaway Championship leaders Newcastle at Kingston Park on Saturday to stay in the race – but fly-half Jarvis is not giving up hope.

"We wanted to make sure we went into the final game still in with a chance," said Jarvis. "It's still not completely in our hands, but we'll go up to Newcastle and have a good go."

Full Story: - www.thisisbristol.co.uk

Other News This Week

Saracens flanker Andy Saull has signed a two-year contract with Newcastle Falcons.

Saull, 24, who has represented England at Under-16, Under-18, Under-19, Under-20 and Saxons level, joins former teammates Adam Powell and Noah Cato on Tyneside.

Progressing through Saracens’ academy system, Saull made his first team debut against Bristol in the EDF Energy Cup just months after completing his A-Levels, and quickly earned himself the reputation as one of the best openside flankers in the country.

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Andy is a fantastic signing, who has the potential to achieve big things in the game.

Rotherham Titans v London Scottish - Saturday 15:00

Rotherham Titans London ScottishRotherham Titans v London Scottish 
Clifton Lane
Saturday 20 April
Kick Off 3pm


Rotherham Titans

A victory for Titans over London Scottish coupled with Jersey creating an upset in the South West against Cornish Pirates, would see the South Yorkshire outfit finish the season in 6th spot. That would represent a remarkable achievement for the club that is enjoying its 17th season at level 2 or above of English rugby.

Going into the clash, Titans one change in the backline sees Joel Gill come into the side at outside centre for the injured Eamonn Sheridan.

In the pack, club stalwart Jamie Kilbane starts at loose head prop, whilst Ross Davies returns to the front row at tight head. Ben Thomas is back in the boiler house and in the back row Alex Rieder and Carl Kirwan return at blind and open flanker respectively.

Titans overall record against the exiles has seen them register just 2 victories in 7 contests. Titans’ last success over Scottish came back in October 1997, where a 24-3 victory at Clifton Lane in the old Allied Dunbar Premiership 2, saw Rotherham finish the season in 4th spot, a place behind London Scottish.

Alex CodlingPreviewing the match Alex Codling explained, “I know London Scottish really well, having coached down there earlier in the season and I know they have a great bunch of guys. They are in a similar position to us and that makes for a very open contest and a great spectacle for our supporters.

“In terms of players; they’ve always had a strong pack. Mark Bright at number 8 is an outstanding player; he’s a great ball-carrier and a good off-loader.

They’ve got a lot of experience in the front five and if you look at Phil Godman at 10; he’s played for Scotland and he played in the semi final of the Heineken Cup last year. Godman gives them great control and they’ve some real pace out in the backs. So we are very aware we are in for a tough, physical challenge.

“However, we are back at Clifton Lane and the boys are keen to do well for the supporters and for the boys that are leaving and it would be nice to send them off with a win. We want to finish the season off on a high and give the supporters some optimism for next season, because there are a lot of good things already in place, both on and off the field here at Rotherham.”

15 Ed Styles, 14 Mike Doneghan, 13 Joel Gill, 12 Lee Blackett
11 Curtis Wilson, 10 James McKinney, 9 Charlie Mulchrone (Capt.)
1 Jamie Kilbane, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Ross Davies, 4 Ben Thomas
5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Alex Rieder, 7 Carl Kirwan, 8 Laurence Pearce.

16 Ally Thomson, 17 Marshall Gadd, 18 Gareth Denman, 19, Neale Patrick
20 Toby Freeman, 21 Pale Nonu, 22 Jimmy Williams.

London Scottish

London Scottish have made six changes to their starting XV for their season finale against Rotherham Titans at Clifton Lane tomorrow.

Both sides are battling it out to secure a top six finish and with the Titans just two points ahead of Scottish in the table, there is certainly still plenty to play for.

Saturday will see a first RFU Championship start for flanker Tommy Spinks, who starts at openside alongside Ben Russell at blindside and skipper Mark Bright at No. 8. Spinks, a Scotland Under 20s international, is promoted to the starting line-up after an impressive cameo off the bench in last week's game against Bristol.

Elsewhere, dual-registered Harlequins duo Nic Mayhew and Harry Allen come into the front row alongside Eric Fry, with Sam Twomey partnering Tyler Hotson in the second row.

PJ Gidlow is recalled at inside centre in place of Andy Reay, who was taken off injured during the match against Bristol. Jamie Stevenson and Phil Godman reprise their half back combination and there is a familiar looking back three of Miles Mantella, James Love and Jim Thompson.

Onto the replacements bench comes Gerard Ellis, a loan signing from London Irish who will provide cover at hooker. Joe Trayfoot also returns for Scottish having recently earned his first Aviva Premiership start for parent club Harlequins.

There is also a slot for winger David Howells, as Scottish opt for a five forwards and two backs split on the bench.

A win for Scottish will take them above Rotherham in the table, whilst a bonus point win and a defeat for Cornish Pirates at home to Jersey will take them into 6th place. Should they suffer defeat, Scottish can finish no lower than their current 8th place.

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 Harry Allen 3 Eric Fry 4 Tyler Hotson
5 Sam Twomey 6 Ben Russell 7 Tommy Spinks 8 Mark Bright (c)

16 Gerard Ellis, 17 Colin Quigley, 18 Paul Spivey, 19 Joe Trayfoot
20 Lewis Calder, 21 Richard Bolt, 22 David Howells

Other News This Week

The Star:- Titans hope to keep Pearce at Clifton Lane.

As Rotherham’s coach, Alex Codling (left), takes charge of his last Championship game against London Scottish at Clifton Lane tomorrow, the Titans are increasingly hopeful that one of their most promising players, forward Laurence Pearce, will remain at the club next season.

Pearce, who was prevented from playing until February because of injury, has made a strong impact in the few games in which he has appeared.

Pearce has been quick to make an impression and with other Championship sides looking to strengthen their squads for next season, Rotherham were keen to extend his contract..

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk