RFU Championship News


RFU Championship News 21st September


RFU Championship News Friday 28th September 2012

Round 5 Teams & Previews
Plus news and comment from around the clubs and what the papers say.

Friday 28 September 2012
Bristol v Moseley 19:45
Doncaster v Cornish Pirates 19:45
Newcastle v Leeds Carnegie 20:00
Nottingham v London Scottish 19:45
Plymouth Albion v Rotherham Titans 19:45

Saturday 29 September 2012
Jersey v Bedford 15:00

BBC Live Commentaries
Doncaster v Cornish Pirates - BBC Radio Cornwall
Moseley v Bristol - BBC Bristol
Newcastle v Leeds - BBC Newcastle
Newcastle v Leeds - BBC Radio Leeds

Bristol v Moseley Friday 19:45

Bristol Rugby Moseley Bristol v Moseley
Friday 28 September
Memorial Ground
Kick Off 7:45pm

BBC Bristol
Live Commentary



Liam Middleton hands Academy prop Will Davis his first ever RFU Championship start as Bristol look to return to winning ways against Moseley.

Bristol make seven changes from the side that went down 50-31 to Leeds last Sunday.

Ryan Edwards returns after a two-game absence, while Ben Mosses, Ruki Tipuna and David McIlwaine are also selected in the backline.

Redford Pennycook recovers from injury to start in the back row and Mariano Sambucetti plays in his 104th league game for the Club.

Middleton opts for a five forwards and two backs split on the bench, with Mark Lilley included in the 22-man squad for the first time season.


After a disappointing loss at home to Plymouth last week, Moseley go to Bristol, seeking their first Championship win at The Memorial Ground

Moseley will be travelling in hope that their opponents will be dented rather than galvanised by their heavy defeat last week at Leeds.

With several players and both Moseley Coaches, Kevin Maggs and Dave Hilton, hailing from the south-west this fixture has added spice.

“Mistakes at crucial times were punished by Plymouth last week” Maggs said. “The lads know that we are looking to achieve greater accuracy in our game, and I want to see this tomorrow evening”.

Moseley make three changes, with Ethan Waller returning to the front row, Ollie Robinson coming in at open-side, and Brad Hunt replacing Billy Robinson on the wing.

Bristol Rugby
David McIlwaine; Ryan Edwards, Luke Eves, Ben Mosses, Matt Williams;
Tristan Roberts, Ruki Tipuna; Will Davis, Rhys Lawrence, Bruce Douglas
Mariano Sambucetti, Glen Townson, Iain Grieve (c), Redford Pennycook, Mitch Eadie.

Tom Channon, Wayne Thompson, Mark Lilley, Ben Glynn
Marco Mama, James Grindal, Matthew Jones.

1.Ethan Waller; 2.Adam Caves; 3. Craig Voisey; 4.Addison Lockley
5.Buster Lawrence; 6.Neil Mason; 7. Oliver Robinson; 8.Ben Pienaar
9. Sam Brown; 10.Glynn Hughes; 11 Brad Hunt; 12.Charlie Hayter
13. Greg King; 14. Simon Hunt; 15. Oliver Thomas

16.Sam Wilkes;17. Chaz Meddick; 18.Liam Mather; 19. Nigel Burrows
20. Alex Day; 21. Anthony Carter; 22. Billy Robinson

What The Papers Say

The Bristol Post
Liam Middleton is expecting an "emotional response" from his Bristol side tonight after the  50-31 defeat at Leeds on Sunday.

"We didn't go wrong technically or tactically, we went wrong mentally, and I don't think we were quite at the races. The competition, as it stands now, doesn't allow any room for leniency or a lack of respect for the opposition. It's not that we showed a lack of respect to Leeds, but maybe we weren't at 100 per cent, and this competition shows you need to be.

"There is probably a perception that we're not as good as we were this time last season, but I don't work in perception – I work in the objective reality of what we see and what we want from the game.

"Moseley will be a brave side. They will be a side that will feel they can come to the Memorial Stadium and win, because they had good results against us last year. They've got some good players – their centre Charlie Hayter is a quality player.

"But this weekend is not about Moseley, it's about Bristol Rugby getting back to its best, and we're going to work hard to achieve that. There has to be an emotional response to our poor performance at Leeds, and the players will do that.

Full Story www.thisisbristol.co.uk

Doncaster v Cornish Pirates Friday 19:45

Doncaster Knights Cornish Pirates Doncaster v Cornish Pirates
Friday 28 September
Castle Park
Kick Off 7:45pm

BBC Cornwall
Live Commentary


Brett Davey Knights’ Director of Rugby has rung in a series of changes to the side that lost out to London Scottish last weekend.

David Bradford returns to openside flanker in the starting line up for the first time since last season. Another change in the back row of interest sees seasoned campaigner and Castle Park favourite Chris Planchant start at number 8, the Welshmen was included on the bench for the first time last weekend following his return to fitness after an off-season operation.

Other changes to the pack see Captain Matt Challinor return to the second row as Adam Kettle gets the nod at blindside flanker and Brian McGovern will partner Rhys Buckley and Tom Davies up front.

The only difference to the backline that started last Saturday is that Dougie Flockhart and Dante Mama will switch places; the former lining up on the wing and latter making his first start at his preferred full-back position.

Cornish Pirates

There are a number of changes to the Cornish Pirates starting line-up from the one that lost 25-3 at home to Newcastle Falcons last Sunday.

In the backs, scrum-half Gavin Cattle returns to skipper the side and Tom Kessell moves out onto the wing in place of the injured Wes Davies.

Kieran Hallett moves from full-back to his more familiar fly-half berth, and the Championship's top try-scorer to date, Matt Evans, has recovered from the knock he had against Bristol two weeks ago and will wear the number '15' shirt.

Alex Cheesman is named at outside centre to make his first league start in Pirates' colours.

Two forwards also making their first starts for the Pirates are hooker Jack Yeandle and flanker Joe Buckle, who is dual-registered with Bath and made his debut for the club when coming off the bench in the home win against Plymouth Albion.

The experienced Laurie McGlone, selected at No. 8, makes a welcome return from injury to make his first appearance of the season.

Doncaster Knights
15 Dante Mama 14 Dougie Flockhart 13 Will Simpson 12 James Tincknell 11 Tyson Lewis
10 Jamie Lennard 9 Chris Hallam
1 Tom Davies 2 Rhys Buckley 3 Brian McGovern 4 Phil Hoy
5 Matt Challinor © 6 Adam Kettle 7 Dave Bradford 8 Chris Planchant

16 Andy Brown, 17 Ben Sowery, 18 Jerry Cronin 19 Dom Parsons
20 Andy Boyde, 21 Louis Silver, 22 Tom Barrett.

Cornish Pirates:
M. Evans, T. Bedford, T. Riley, A. Cheesman, T. Kessell
K. Hallett, G. Cattle (capt)
L. McGlone, J. Buckle, C. Morgan, G. Johnson, D. Lyons
A. Paver, J. Yeandle, R. Storer.

P. Andrew, R. Elloway, P. Joyce, P. Burgess
D. Ewers, A. Penberthy, J. Fatialofa.

What The Papers Say

The Star
Knights’ star Dante Mama is hoping to see more of the ball in tonight’s clash against Cornish Pirates.

The Zimbabwe-born back, whose favoured position is centre, has been playing on the wing since joining Knights from Premiership giants Leicester Tigers in the summer and has found the lack of running chances to date ‘frustrating’.

“I like to have ball in hand and to run with the ball,” said the 22 year-old who has been switched to full-back for tonight’s game as director of rugby Brett Davey rings the changes in a bid to kick-start the club’s season after four successive defeats.

“Hopefully I will see more of the ball and be a bit more involved tonight than I have in some games this season,” he told The Star.

Pirates boast an impressive record at Castle Park and hadn’t lost there prior to last season, but Mama says it is vital that second-bottom Knights come out on top tonight.

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk

Western Morning News
Pirates Head coach Ian Davies believes that the Knights will be targeting tonight's game as an ideal opportunity to kick-start their season and said: "Doncaster on a Friday night is never an easy place to go.

"We want to get back to winning ways but they are a very physical team and are scoring a lot of points at the moment. We have to make sure that we can get everyone fit and fresh."

He added: "We played well against Newcastle and put a lot of effort in. The secret is now to go to Doncaster and put the same effort in and hopefully get a reward for it.

"We have just played two of the best teams in this year's Championship back to back, but now we need to start picking up some wins. Otherwise it becomes a long hard season."

Full Story www.thisiscornwall.co.uk

BBC Cornwall
Pirates boss Davies says he wants his players to show the same attitude as in their previous matches against much-fancied Newcastle and Bristol.

"We need the same attitude and effort and the creation of pressure into the other games and hopefully we'll get the rewards," he told BBC Radio Cornwall.

"The players take great heart from the fact that they played against a Premiership squad in Newcastle and the score didn't reflect the whole game.

"Doncaster is never an easy place to go and we got a spanking there last year, but in previous years we've done OK there as it's all about the set piece, and if we do that we'll control the game, as we've got the backs to do the damage."

Full Story www.bbc.co.uk/sport

Other News This Week

Ian Davies Joins RFU Championship XV Coaching Team

Cornish Pirates' head coach Ian Davies has accepted the role of assistant coach of the RFU Championship XV, following the departure of Liam Middleton for family reasons

Davies will join fellow RFU Championship coach Diccon Edwards in assisting Mike Rayer in his role as head coach of the XV side, which will face the Maori All Blacks at Doncaster Knights' Castle Park on November 17.

The fixture is the first of its kind in RFU Championship history and will see an entirely English qualified squad take to the field against the Maori All Blacks. Following his appointment, Davies commented:

"It is both an honour and a privilege to have been asked to be part of the Championship XV coaching team. To work with Mike and Diccon is exciting as both are very attack minded in their philosophy on how rugby should be played.

"Personally, I am very ambitious, striving to coach at the highest level that I can achieve and this fixture represents a fantastic opportunity to test my coaching abilities.

But more importantly it is a wonderful chance for the players to demonstrate the high level of rugby skill that is on show week in week out within the RFU Championship.

 Full Story http://cornish-pirates.com

Newcastle Falcons v Leeds Carnegie Friday 20:00

Newcastle Falcons Leeds Carnegie Newcastle v Leeds Carnegie
Friday 28 September
Kingston Park
Kick Off 8pm
Live Commentaries
BBC Newcastle
BBC Radio Leeds

Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle Falcons have made two changes for this showdown with Leeds Carnegie at Kingston Park

Carlo del Fava and Mark Wilson start for the first time this term, as the Falcons aim to make it five wins in a row to maintain their lead at the top of the tree.

Italian international del Fava returns to the second-row after a back injury, while Wilson gets the nod in the back-row following stints on the bench.

Falcons boss Dean Richards sticks with the same backline that defeated Cornish Pirates 25-3 at The Mennaye Field last weekend, with promising youngster Joel Hodgson keeping his place at fly-half.

Hodgson partners experienced campaigner Rory Lawson at half-back with goal-kicking sensation Jimmy Gopperth continuing at full-back.

Director of rugby Richards is expecting a stern test from a Leeds outfit that defeated Bristol 50-31 at Headingley on Sunday.

He said: “They were 27-0 up at half-time against Bristol which in effect won them the game and there is no doubt that they have a bit of poise and flair.

“It is interesting to see how they managed to take Bristol apart in the manner that they did. They are pretty strong all over the park and they play with a lot of flair.”

Recalling his derby day experiences during his tenure at Leicester Tigers and Harlequins respectively, Richards added: “Coming from Leicester I know what derbies are all about with teams like Coventry and Northampton, who were massive teams in their day and still are.

“When I was down at Quins you had games against London Irish, Saracens and Wasps and they were very special occasions.”

It has been a short turnaround for Richards’ troops, having flown back from their overnight stay in Exeter on Monday. However, Richards insists his side are in tip top shape for the derby duel, saying: “Everything has been fine in terms of preparations as we travelled back on Monday and we are in good shape.

“Of course the weather hasn’t been great this week but we trained on Tuesday at Druid Park so in that respect, again our preparations have not been hampered at all.

“Northumbria University were kind enough to offer their facilities for us to use, but the traffic wasn’t great around the city so we used Druid instead.

“Kingston Park is in perfect condition and I am really looking forward to the game.”

Leeds Carnegie

Diccon Edwards makes six changes to the side that beat Bristol 50-31 at Headingley Carnegie last Sunday.

One of those is enforced with hooker Joe Graham ruled out as part of his loan deal from the Falcons this season. Phil Nilsen returns to the front row with Harry Hannan set to make his first appearance of the season off the bench.

Only one of the changes comes in the backs with Craig Hampson swapping with James Doherty in the number nine shirt.

The other four changes all come in the forwards with only captain Jacob Rowan retaining his place in the back five. Matt Smith will make his first start for the club in the second row, after coming on as a replacement last week for his debut following his summer move from Cornish Pirates, alongside Dan Hemingway.

England U20 captain Chris Walker will make his first start of the season in the back row alongside new signing Rob Baldwin from Wharfedale at number eight.

Prop Lee Imiolek returns on the bench in place of Ben Harris after missing out last week.

Late News

Leeds Carnegie have been dealt a double injury blow with two players ruled out through injuries in the final team run.

David Doherty has suffered a hamstring injury and his place on the wing is taken by Jamel Chisholm, who starts his first game for the club. Christian Georgiou is drafted onto the bench.

In the second row, Matt Smith is ruled out by a re-occurrence of an ankle injury and his place in the starting line up is taken by Calum Green. Mike Myerscough comes back in to the squad and takes Green’s place amongst the replacements.

Newcastle Falcons:
15 Jimmy Gopperth, 14 Luke Fielden, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu
11 Tm Catterick 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Rory Lawson
1 Jonny Golding, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Carlo del Fava
5 James Hudson, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Richard Mayhew, 8 Ally Hogg

16 Matt Thompson, 17 James Hall, 18 Scott MacLeod, 19 Taiasina Tu’ifua
20 Jordi Pasqualin, 21 Alex Tait, 22 Jamie Helleur

Leeds Carnegie - Revised
15. Stevie McColl 14. Curtis Wilson 13. Josh Griffin 12. Fred Burdon
11. Jamel Chisholm 10. Joe Ford
9. Craig Hampson 1. Sam Lockwood
2. Phil Nilsen 3. Damien Tussac 4. Calum Green 5. Dan Hemingway
6. Jacob Rowan (c) 7. Chris Walker 8. Rob Baldwin

16. Harry Hannan 17. Lee Imiolek 18. Ben Hooper 19. Mike Myerscough
20. Richard Beck 21. James Doherty 22. Christian Georgiou

What The Papers Say

Mark Smith The Journal
As Newcastle Falcons prepare to host Leeds Carnegie this evening, hooker Rob Vickers tells Mark Smith why northern exposure remains vital for rugby union

It Has been a rough old time for northern rugby, with Leeds relegated 16 months ago, Newcastle dropping down to the second tier a year later and now Sale Sharks sitting win-less at the foot of the Premiership.

That a game between two teams separated by more than 100 miles can be classed as a ‘derby’ tells you all you need to know about the paucity of northern contenders in the professional era.

“With the greatest respect, I hope we are not playing against Leeds next season, but these northern derbies are always great occasions,” says Vickers, Yorkshire by birth and now Co Durham by residence.

“Obviously this is a big country with lots of regions pushing for Premiership rugby, but being up here we want the North East to be a big part of that picture and to get Newcastle back into the top division.”

Vickers is hoping for altogether more temperate conditions than his team encountered during last week’s 25-3 triumph at Cornish Pirates, although he is realistic enough to have a Plan B up his sleeve.

“I was lying awake at 5am in our sea-front hotel, and you could hear the rain and wind lashing against the window, and the waves hitting the rocks.

“That is what we play half our season in, so if any team is going to benefit from playing in bad weather then it is probably us."

Full Story www.journallive.co.uk

Yorkshire Evening Post
Almost 10 years to the day that Newcastle and Leeds slugged out a Premiership encounter famously dubbed ‘The Battle of the Boot’, Carnegie’s present points machine is confident he can kick the West Yorkshire club to victory tonight.

On Saturday, September 29, 2002, Jonny Wilkinson kicked three conversions and two penalties as Newcastle defeated the Leeds Tykes 27-20, with South African Braam van Straaten kicking 10 of Leeds’ points.

Tonight the two meet again with Leeds fly-half Joe Ford confident he has the ability to stay the distance with renowned kicker Jimmy Gopperth.

The New Zealander was one of the main reasons why Newcastle stayed in the Premiership as long as they did, and he has shown commendable loyalty to the north east club as they seek to make their stay in the Championship a brief one.

To that end they have made a positive start, winning all four of their opening matches, collecting a try bonus in three of those games.

Leeds, by contrast, only sparked to life last week when they completely destroyed Bristol 50-31 at Headingley Carnegie.

Full Story www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk

Nottingham v London Scottish Friday 19:45

Nottingham London Scottish Nottingham v London Scottish
Friday 28 September
Meadow lane
Kick Off 7:45pm


Martin Haag has named an unchanged side to face London Scottish.

Haag has unwavering belief in the side that was beaten with the final play of the game against Bedford last week.

Having led until the 93rd minute of play, the Green and Whites did everything but leave Goldington Road with four competition points.

“Against Bedford there was terrific stuff out there and the game plan was bang on,” Haag said.

“The boys really put in a big stint in with the amount of energy that they brought into that match.

“I’m not one for making a load of changes, or changes just for the sake of it.

“Across the board there are players going well and what we need to do as a group is find consistency and perform well every week.”

And yet, Haag wasn’t without a headache at the selection table as his new-look Nottingham outfit continues to take shape.

“As a squad we are in a healthy situation, we have strong numbers training and there is vigorous competition for places,” Haag said.

The motivation for this team and players is to get back to winning ways on Friday. All week they have been pushed in training to make sure that they are part of the 22 to make that happen.”

London Scottish

After coming on from the bench last Saturday, Scotland international Phil Godman makes his first start in a London Scottish squad.

Also making his first start for the club is prop Colin Quigley whilst club captain Lewis Calder  makes a return in the back row.

15 Andrew Savage 14 David Jackson 13 Tim Streather 12 Joe Munro 11 Rhys Crane
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 Scott Wright 17 Ryan Bower 18 Joe Quinn 19 Tom Calladine
20 Finlay Barnham 21 Rory Lynn 22 Joe Cobden.

London Scottish
15 James Love 14 Dave McCall 13 Jim Thompson 12 Ryan Westren 11 David Howells
10 Phil Godman 9 Ross Samson
1 Alex Clarke 2 Adam Kwasnicki 3 Colin Quigley 4 Paul Spivey
5 Josh Thomas Brown 6 Chevvy Pennycook 7 Lewis Calder 8 Mark Bright

16 Harry Allen 17 Alex Mackenzie 18 Tyler Hotson 19 Joe Trayfoot
20 Richard Bolt 21 Oli Grove 22 Miles Mantella

What The Papers Say

Nottingham Post
A Fit-Again Rhys Crane has vowed to recapture his prolific best form for the club that has helped revive his career.

For the first time in more than 18 months the winger is playing regular rugby and doing what he loves most – scoring tries.

Since he first had knee surgery while with Premiership side Sale, Crane's name became more synonymous with his time on the sidelines rather than his knack for finding the try line.

First it was ten months out recuperating, then a further three months mending a broken jaw after a 30-second Nottingham debut last season.

"My mindset has always been to get fit and get back to playing rugby every week," Crane said as he prepared for tonight's visit of London Scottish to Meadow Lane.

"Every week is about showing that I've still got it and that I'm worth my place in the team."

Full Story www.thisisnottingham.co.uk

Plymouth Albion v Rotherham Titans Friday 19:45

Plymouth Albion Rotherham Titans Plymouth Albion v Rotherham Titans
Friday 28 September
Kick Off 7:45pm



Plymouth Albion

Albion make three changes to their team as they look to make it three wins in a row when Rotherham visit Brickfields.

England Under-20 prop Luke Cowan-Dickie and flanker Wayne Sprangle will make their first starts of the season, while Lloyd Fairbrother comes back into Albion's front-row.

Albion currently sit third in the table with three wins out of four to their name. Their only defeat so far this season was a narrow 19-17 loss at the Cornish Pirates.

Rotherham, whose only previous win at Brickfields came in February 2009, lie fourth in the league, just a point behind Albion.

Last season the teams played out a cracking match under the floodlights at Brickfields, which Albion won 24-20.

Rotherham Titans

Rotherham Titans have made seven changes to their starting line-up.

Latu Makaafi (Broken Collarbone) and Barney Maddison (Knee) are ruled out following injuries they picked up in last week’s 54-31 victory over Jersey. Also sidelined and yet to figure in a competitive game for the Titans are Laurence Pearce and Fergus Mulchrone.

Along the Titans back line Mike Doneghan gets his first start after impressing as a replacement against Jersey; he starts on the left wing replacing Peter Homan. Lee Blackett returns from a dead-leg and will start at outside centre. Blackett’s return means Club Captain Garry Law switches to fly half; relegating James McKinney to a bench spot.

Jamie Kilbane and Ted Stagg come into the front row for Shane Cahill and Dan Baines, both of whom are expected to make an impact from the bench. Dan Sanderson starts at lock, whilst Carl Kirwan and Toby Freeman return at blind side and number 8.

Rotherham are fully aware of the challenge that a rejuvenated Albion will pose. The Devon-based side have made a bright start to the Championship, winning three of their four matches to date and currently sit 3rd in the table.

Titans have only won once in their last eight visits to Brickfields and that’s a record they will be aiming to improve upon Friday evening.

Titans Head Coach Andre Bester recognising the challenge ahead said, “It’s always tough going down to Plymouth and we don’t have a great record down there, although our matches tend to be very close affairs and I expect more of the same on Friday.

“We’ve prepared for Plymouth with the greatest of respect, as we do for all our opponents. We need to stick to our game plan and make sure we execute the basics efficiently. If we are successful in doing that, we should give ourselves an opportunity to get the result we all desire.”

15 Henry Slade, 14 Paul Bailey, 13 Toby Howley-Berridge, 12 Bevon Armitage, 11 Jack Arnott
10 Paul Roberts, 9 Ruairi Cushion
1 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 2 Jon Vickers, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 4 Brett Beukeboom
5 Ien Ascroft-Leigh, 6 Wayne Sprangle, 7 Sam Hocking, 8 Sean-Michael Stephen (capt).

6 Rhodri McAtee, 17 David Morton, 18 Rupeni Nasiga, 19 Jack Andrew
20 Tom Cowan-Dickie, 21 Aaron Carpenter, 22 Keni Fisilau.

15 Mike Whitehead, 14 Eamonn Sheridan, 13 Lee Blackett, 12 Pale Nonu, 11 Mike Doneghan
10 Garry Law (Capt.), 9 Jimmy Williams
1 Jamie Kilbane, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Ross Davies, 4 Neale Patrick
5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Alex Rieder, 7 Carl Kirwan, 8 Toby Freeman.

16 Dan Baines, 17 Shane Cahill, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Rory Pitman
20 Peter Homan, 21 Joel Gill, 22 James McKinney.

What The Papers Say

Plymouth Herald

Plymouth Albion coach Nat Saumi believes changes to the laws and the structure of the Championship has made the league far more exciting this season.

Points scoring is up across the board and Saumi believes scrapping the relegation play-offs and giving teams only five seconds to play a ball after winning it at a ruck has played a major role in making the league more attractive.

"With the laws now there is no more slow ball, so that is why I think now teams are playing with pace and trying to score as many tries as they can," said Saumi.

Saumi felt the pressure of trying to finish in the top eight made teams play more conservatively as the cost of losing a game could make the difference between fighting for promotion or scrapping to avoid relegation.

Full Story www.thisisdevon.co.uk

Rotherham Advertiser
Andre Bester has warned his side to be on their guard at resurgent Plymouth Albion tonight.

Bester believes that, despite a string of injury problems, Rotherham can bring home the win points.

“It is always difficult there but we will be looking to replicate the form we showed at Nottingham a fortnight ago.” he said.

Full Story www.rotherhamadvertiser.co.uk

Jersey v Bedford Saturday 15:00

Jersey Rugby Bedford Blues Jersey v Bedford
Saturday 29 September 2012
St Peter
Kick Off 3pm


Perhaps the biggest surprise in Ben Harvey’s Jersey selection sees two lynchpins of last season's side, Donovan Sanders and Guy Thompson, relegated to the bench.

Sanders is replaced by Mike Le Bourgeois at centre, with Ross Broadfoot returning to the fly-half position. Ed Dawson starts on the wing in place of Glenn Bryce.

In the forwards, seven of the starting pack against Rotherham last weekend will appear again, with Thompson's number 7 shirt going to Kingsley Lang, an impactful substitute at Clifton Lane.

Jersey's bench includes two players back from injury: scrum-half Nicky Griffiths after a quicker-than-expected recovery from the blow he sustained against Moseley two weeks ago.


Bedford Blues may be unbeaten in the league so far this season, but they are fully aware that this weekend’s trip to Jersey is going to be a huge challenge.

After snatching victory against Nottingham in the dying seconds of last weekend’s Championship fixture, the Blues take to the road (and air) looking for their first away victory of the campaign after drawing 38 all with Rotherham three weeks ago.

Bedford have the benefit of picking from an almost fully fit squad with Jake Sharp and James Stephenson the only injury worries. Joe Vandermolen is also missing as he goes to Old Albanians on loan as emergency injury cover for them, whilst also picking up some valuable game in the process

Looking ahead to Bedford’s trip across the English Channel, Bedford Blues Director of Rugby Mike Rayer said: “Although we have rung the changes this week, the 22 still has a very familiar look and feel to it.

The midfield had to be adjusted as a result of Jake’s injury and the pack has a bucketful of experience in it.

That is something we feel we are going to need in Jersey, as it is venue that most of us haven’t experienced on a match day.

“We are all looking forward to this new challenge and are also looking to address some of the issue that appeared last Saturday. There’s been a real focus and energy in training this week and the lads are in pretty determined mood ahead of the weekend.”

Bedford make seven personnel changes from the team that started against Nottingham last weekend but not one player will be in the same position.

Henry Staff and Brendan Burke come in as the centre combination, Luke Baldwin starts at scrum half and Mark Atkinson moves to fly half in the place of Sharp.

Phil Boulton, Ben Gulliver, Gregor Gillanders and Sacha Harding all start while Mark Kohler takes a place on the bench for the first time this season.

1 Richard Barrington  2 Steve Boden 3 Ben Evans 4 Nathan Hannay (capt)
5 Rob Anderson 6 Talite Vaoileti 7 Kingsley Lang 8 Fred Silcock
9 Dave McCormack 10 Ross Broadfoot 11 Ed Dawson
12 Dai Bishop 13 Mike Le Bourgeois 14 Ed Tellwright 15 Barry Davies

James Gethings  Sean McCarthy Paul Rodgers Guy Thompson
Nicky Griffiths Donovan Sanders Ashley Maggs

Bedford Blues
15. Ben Ransom 14. Josh Bassett 13. Brendan Burke 12. Henry Staff
11. James Pritchard (c) 10. Mark Atkinson 9. Luke Baldwin
1. Ricky Reeves 2. Neil Cochrane 3. Phil Boulton 4. Mike Howard
5. Ben Gulliver 6. Gregor Gillanders 7. Sacha Harding 8. Paul Tupai

16. Scott Spurling, 17. Ben Cooper, 18. Alex Rae, 19. Darren Fox
20. Darryl Veenendaal, 21. Ian Vass, 22. Mark Kohler

What The Papers Say

Mark Wood Beford Today
Wary Bedford Blues will have to be on their mettle at the weekend to make sure that Jersey don’t ‘ambush’ them at St Peter, writes Mark Wood.

And Bedford boss Mike Rayer believes a trip to the Channel Islanders could help mentally freshen up his side.

Rayer said: “We’ve done it (long trips by plane) before, not necessarily to Jersey. We have been to Jersey lots of us on training camps, been to Belfast and a few other places.

“We went on a plane in pre-season so it’s not hugely different. The preparation is done early in the week in readiness to go."

Jersey are yet to triumph in the Championship since winning promotion and Rayer is surprised they haven’t made a better start.

“They are at home. They hadn’t lost there for about 14 months prior to the start of the season,” he said. “I think everybody’s been surprised a little bit the way they’ve started.

“They are going to win some games and hopefully they won’t start on Saturday. They’ve got more internationals than we’ve got in their side.”

Full Story www.bedfordtoday.co.uk