RFU Championship News

November 2nd

RFU Championship News 2nd November


RFU Championship News Friday 2nd November 2012

Round 8 Teams & Previews
Plus news and comment from around the clubs and what the papers say.

BBC Local Radio covering all matches except Rotherham Titans v Doncaster

Saturday 3 November 2012
Bedford v Newcastle 15:00 - Three Counties Radio / BBC Newcastle
Jersey v Plymouth Albion 15:00 - Radio Jersey
London Scottish v Leeds Carnegie 15:00 - Radio Leeds
Moseley v Cornish Pirates 15:00 - Radio Cornwall
Rotherham Titans v Doncaster 14:00

Sunday 4 November 2012
Nottingham v Bristol 15:00 - Radio Bristol

Bedford v Newcastle - Saturday 15:00

Bedford Blues Newcastle Falcons Bedford v Newcastle
Saturday 3 November
Goldington Road
Kick Off 3pm

BBC Three Counties Radio
BBC Newcastle




Bedford Blues may have suffered their first defeat of the Championship season at Bristol on Sunday, but the team are looking forward to a top of the table clash when Newcastle Falcons visit Goldington Road this weekend.

It’s fair to say that Newcastle have certainly settled into life in the Championship with a perfect seven from seven record and are firm favourites to bounce straight back into the Premiership. The Blues are under no illusion about the task ahead and know that inflicting a first defeat of the season on Dean Richards’ men would be the perfect tonic to their disappointing result at the Memorial Ground last weekend.

Ollie Dodge is ruled out of the game following an injury that he picked up against Bristol. Initial fears were that the winger had broken his leg, but X-rays revealed that he had not suffered any fracture but is ruled out for several weeks with ligament damage.

Chris Locke is close to a return following his knee injury, Ben Gulliver should be back in action soon having recovered from an arm injury, but the game has come a little too soon from James Stephenson who misses out with a toe injury.

Speaking ahead of the game Blues Team Manager Rob Crowle said: “It’s always a pleasure to welcome the team who were relegated from the Premiership the previous season but we also know how big a test it will be. We’ve had some cracking games here against relegated sides such as Northampton, Bristol, Leeds and Worcester and I expect Saturday to be just as exciting.

“Newcastle have set their sights firmly on an immediate return to the Premiership and Dean Richards has them playing with plenty of drive and flair which has seen them win all seven games in the league and two in the cup.

“That said, the lads don’t need much encouragement for this weekend. We put last Sunday to bed early in the week and focused in on Newcastle Pretty sharply. There were a lot of positives to take forward and lessons learned. We now have to take that learning and transfer it to the field on Saturday.

“We know it’s going to be a tough game but we have fantastic fans and I’m sure that they will be acting as the 16th man for this one. If we play at our best, the fans get behind us and Newcastle don’t settle well – anything could happen.”

Bedford make only two changes to the team that was defeated by Bristol with Ben Ransom starting on the wing in place of Ollie Dodge and Don Barrell, who pulled out late last weekend with sickness, starting at number eight.

Paul Tupai moves to second row with Alex Rae taking a place on the bench alongside Darren Fox and Ricky Reeves who returns from suspension.

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

16. Scott Spurling, 17. Ricky Reeves, 18. Dan Seal, 19. Alex Rae
20. Darren Fox, 21. Ali Price, 22. Mark Atkinson.


Newcastle Falcons have made three changes for Saturday’s trip to Bedford, as Dean Richards’ men aim to make it eight wins out of eight in the league.

Ryan Shortland returns to the wing after two months out with a hamstring injury, while Mark Wilson replaces skipper Will Welch who sustained a back injury in last week’s 33-0 victory over Rotherham Titans.

Richard Mayhew switches to openside flanker with Sean Tomes coming into the second-row for Carlo del Fava who misses out through injury.

“This is a big month for the club and these next four games are very important for us,” said head coach Peter Russell.

“Last week was a real challenge for us in difficult conditions, and this week will be big test for us against a team that is vying for the title.

“It is very important that we have depth in the squad and that has served us well so far this season as we have had to make changes due to injury.

“We have managed to give everyone a taste of first team action, and I suppose you could say the wheel is continuously turning with everyone mentally fresh.”

Newcastle Falcons
15 Alex Tait, 14 Ryan Shortland, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu
11 Tom Catterick, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Rory Lawson
1 Jonny Golding, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Sean Tomes
5 Scott MacLeod, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Richard Mayhew, 8 Ally Hogg (c)

16 Matt Thompson, 17 James Hall, 18 Taiasina Tu’ifua, 19

What The Papers Say

Kevin Affleck, Bedfordshire On Sunday
Mike Rayer is calling on Blues fans to pack out Goldington Road for the visit of Newcastle on Saturday and create an intimidating atmosphere for the top-of-the-table clash.

“The crowd will play a massive part,” Rayer said. “There is great excitement around the game and the more we can cram in the better. They [Newcastle] have not been pressurised so far so let’s see how they respond this weekend. People have been working flat out to get a big show going on Friday night for the fireworks and on Saturday for the game.”

Bedford are likely to need to produce a pyrotechnical display of their own to beat Dean Richards’ side. Newcastle made it seven wins out of seven with a 33-0 win over Rotherham last week while Bedford saw their unbeaten run end at Bristol on Sunday, widening the gap between the top two to seven points.

“They are a side with no obvious weaknesses,” Rayer said. “They have kept their squad [after being relegated] and chucked massive resources at it. They are impressive physically and in terms of their organisation.

Full Story www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk

 Michael Hann, Bedford Today
After tasting defeat for the first time this season against Bristol, director of rugby Mike Rayer says his side will need to be at their best for the visit of Dean Richards’ men.

He said: “This is a different animal coming here at the weekend. They are very well organised, powerful, and a pretty direct team.

“We are going to have to be on the top of our game this week. “But as much as anything we want to be true to ourselves, we want to play the Bedford way and see if we cause them problems.

“It doesn’t matter who comes here that is the way we want to go.”

Full Story www.bedfordtoday.co.uk

Mark Smith, The Journal
Newcastle Falcons scrum-half Rory Lawson hopes tomorrow’s trip to Bedford will prove no uphill challenge despite the game being played on one of rugby’s most pronounced slopes.

Famously sloping from corner to corner, Lawson said of the Midlands venue: “I have never played there personally before so it will all be new to me, but I have heard a lot about this slope.

“It has been mentioned during the week and we will try to pick up on it once we get down there and have a look at the place during the warm-up, but it is the same for both teams and it won’t massively change our strategy.”

Lawson was among the Falcons’ four try-scorers last Friday as they mastered snowy conditions in a 33-0 demolition of Rotherham, sniping his way round the fringes of a ruck for the opening touch-down before linking up with the Scotland squad on Monday at St Andrews.

The former Gloucester man said: “I knew when I signed for Newcastle that I would have to play in some interesting conditions, but I never expected a blizzard in October!

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

Other News This Week

This week saw four Falcons players called-up for international duty with Rory Lawson (Scotland), Grant Shiells (Scotland), Taiasina Tu’ifua (Samoa) and Suka Hufanga (Tonga) all in the mix for their respective countries.

Falcons head coach Peter Russell. said: “It’s tremendous that we have guys representing their country and it just shows that the selectors are looking at all levels, especially in the Championship.

“The guys are playing outstanding rugby every week and that puts them in good stead for national selection.”

Jersey v Plymouth Albion - Saturday 15:00

Jersey Rugby Plymouth Albion Jersey v Plymouth Albion
Saturday 3 November
St Peter
Kick Off 3pm

BBC Radio Jersey


In seeking the perfect hand this season, Ben Harvey has been more likely to ‘twist’ than ‘stick’ so far thus far.

A run of defeats and significant injury problems have contributed to regular changes of personnel, but this week Jersey’s Director of Rugby has revealed an unchanged starting XV, for the first time this season, as he prepares for the visit of Plymouth Albion tomorrow.

The same cast members will take to the stage at St Peter as were on duty for the 20-17 victory against London Scottish last weekend, Jersey's first league win of the season.

'The boys who turned out last week really stood up and although we allowed Scottish back into the game, they got the job done and deserve another chance,' stated Harvey. 'There are some players back in contention after injury, but they are going to have to force their way back into the starting line-up.'

The Jersey bench is bolstered through the return of specialist cover at scrum-half - Nicky Griffiths is fit again - and at hooker, with Dave Felton returning to the fray. Ed Tellwright and Nick Trower are the players to miss out.

Former Coventry centre Donovan Sanders, who joined Jersey in 2009 and has missed just one game in the two previous seasons, will make his 100th appearance in all games for the club this weekend.

1 Sean McCarthy 2 Steve Boden 3 James Gethings 4 Rob Anderson
5 Nathan Hannay (capt) 6 Paul Rodgers 7 Kingsley Lang 8 Guy Thompson
9 Brendan O'Brien 10 Mike Le Bourgeois 11 Ed Dawson 12 Ashley Maggs
13 Donovan Sanders 14 James Copsey 15 Glenn Bryce

16 Dave Felton 17 Richard Barrington 18 Jon Brennan 19 James Voss
20 Dave Markham 21 Nicky Griffiths 22 Barry Davies

Plymouth Albion

Albion make just one change to their starting line-up as they bid to return to winning ways in the Championship at Jersey on Saturday.

The Brickfields club are able to welcome back England Under-20 prop Luke Cowan-Dickie from injury and he replaces David Morton, who drops to the bench.

Albion have suffered back-to-back league defeats against Nottingham and Bedford, but head coach Nat Saumi is hoping his fourth-placed side can re-find their winning formula in Jersey.

"When you go away it is always tough," he said. "Jersey got their first league win last week. They also beat Leeds in the cup, so their confidence will be high.

"It will be a good challenge for us, like it is every week. But after playing well and losing some games the boys really want to make a point this Saturday."

Plymouth Albion
15 Henry Slade 14 Lewis Warner 13 Paul Bailey 12 Bevon Armitage
11 Jack Arnott 10 Paul Roberts 9 Paul Rowley
1 Luke Cowan-Dickie 2 Jon Vickers 3 Lloyd Fairbrother 4 Brett Beukeboom
5 Sean-Michael Stephen (capt) 6 Sam Hocking 7 Wayne Sprangle 8 Aaron Carpenter

16 Ruairi Cushion, 17 Keni Fisilau, 18 David Morton, 19 Jack Andrew
20 Tom Cowan-Dickie, 21 Rupeni Nasiga, 22 Harrison Tovey

What The Papers Say

Brent Pilnick, BBC South West Sport
Jersey forwards coach Ben Evans says confidence among his squad is "snowballing" after their first ever win at Championship level.

The win over London Scottish extended Jersey's unbeaten run to three games after going unbeaten in the opening matches of the British and Irish Cup.

"It's snowballing that confidence, but it's also snowballing in how well we can play," Evans told BBC Radio Jersey.

And Evans expects his team to build on their form and push up the table. "I'd rather us have had the losing streak at the beginning than a blip in the middle," he said.

Full Story ww.bbc.co.uk

Sarah Raine, The Herald
Plymouth Albion head into unknown territory when they fly to the Channel Islands to take on bottom club Jersey, the two teams have never met before in the league.

But one member of the Albion party likely to be on the plane from Exeter on Friday does know what it is like to play at Jersey's St Peter's ground.

Forward Harrison Tovey played there with Clifton during the 2010/11 season and he has been filling his team-mates in on what to expect this Saturday.

"The Jersey crowd are one of those where when they are winning they really get behind them," said Tovey. "But when they are losing they really don't like it and can turn against Jersey.

Full Story www.thisisplymouth.co.uk

London Scottish v Leeds Carnegie - Saturday 15:00

London Scottish Leeds CarnegieLondon Scottish v Leeds Carnegie
Saturday 3 November
Athletic Ground
Kick Off 3pm

BBC Radio Leeds


London Scottish

Scottish make just one change to the backline after the 20-17 defeat at Jersey last weekend, with Gerard Mullen coming in for Miles Mantella on the wing.

Changes to the pack include Ben Russell at the back of the scrum in place of Mark Bright and Colin Quigley is restored at tighthead, with Aaron Liffchak dropping to the bench.

London Scottish
15 Jim Thompson 14 Dave McCall 13 Oli Grove 12 PJ Gidlow 11 Gerard Mullen
10 Phil Godman 9 Richard Bolt
1 Mark Irish 2 Adam Kwasnicki 3 Colin Quigley 4 Paul Spivey
5 Tyler Hotson 6 Chevvy Pennycook 7 Ben Lonergan 8 Ben Russell

16 Alex Clarke 17 Marcus Bloomberg 18 Aaron Liffchak 19 Josh Thomas Brown
20 Alex Karonias 21 Jamie Stevenson 22 Andy Reay

Leeds Carnegie

Leeds Carnegie Head Coach Diccon Edwards has made two changes to the side that lost at Cornish Pirates last Sunday for tomorrow’s  trip to London Scottish.

One of the changes is enforced by injury with back row Chris Walker leaving the game in Cornwall early with a head injury, his place in the back row is taken by Rob Baldwin.

The other change sees Oli Goss make his first league start for the club on the wing. He replaces Curtis Wilson, who is amongst the replacements.

Ryan Burrows returns from injury for a spot in the replacements whilst Dan Hemingway comes in for Matt Smith as the second row option.

Leeds Carnegie
15. Stevie McColl 14. Oli Goss 13. Josh Griffin 12. Fred Burdon
11. David Doherty 10. Joe Ford 9. James Doherty
1. Sam Lockwood 2. Joe Graham 3. Damien Tussac 4. Calum Green
5. Mike Myerscough 6. Richard Beck 7. Jacob Rowan (c) 8. Rob Baldwin

16. Phil Nilsen 17. Ben Harris 18. Ben Hooper 19. Dan Hemingway
20. Ryan Burrows 21. Craig Hampson 22. Curtis Wilson

Other News

Yorkshire Evening Post
Headingley will not stage a Leeds Carnegie fixture in just over three months after it was revealed the club's two home games in December will be played elsewhere as work continues on the new £1 million pitch.

Otley's Cross Green base will stage Carnegie's home Championship clash with Bedford Blues on Sunday, December 2, while the British and Irish Cup encounter with Pontypridd on Saturday, December 15 will now be staged at West Park Leeds' RUFC – with the club apologising for any inconvenience caused to supporters.

Full Story www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk

Moseley v Cornish Pirates - Saturday 15:00

Moseley Cornish Pirates Moseley v Cornish Pirates 
Saturday 3 November
Billesley Common
Kick Off 3pm

BBC Radio Cornwall


Moseley entertain Cornish Pirates this week-end in a match which has produced a high yield of points over the last couple of years.

Last week Moseley suffered a disappointing reversal at the hands of Doncaster Knights, and they will be hoping to return to winning ways against a side which has been renowned for its open, attractive attacking play in recent seasons.

Moseley make five changes to their side this week, some enforced through injuries incurred at Castle Park.

In the forwards, Adam Caves returns at hooker, and Ben Pons comes into the back-row.

At fly-half Glynn Hughes returns to action after a month off with injury, and in the threequarters Charlie Hayter starts at centre, with dual-registered Anders Mogenson getting the nod on the right wing.

Head Coach Kevin Maggs is hoping to see a better performance on Saturday.

“We never turned up until the last third of the game last week”, he said. “The whole squad know that we are much better than we showed at Doncaster, and there is no better way to demonstrate this than in our next available game”.

1. Steffan Thorpe; 2.Adam Caves; 3. Craig Voisey; 4.Addison Lockley
5.Buster Lawrence 6.Ben Pons; 7.Oliver Robinson; 8.Ben Pienaar
9. Sam Brown; 10.Glynn Hughes; 11.Billy Robinson 12.Charlie Hayter
13 Simon Hunt.; 14. Anders Mogenson; 15. Anthony Carter

6.Sam Wilkes;17. Danny Herriott; 18. Tom Hicks; 19.Nigel Burrows
20. Liam Mather; 21. Oliver Thomas; 22. Brad Hunt

Cornish Pirates

Having drawn with Moseley on their last two visits to Billesley Common, the Pirates will be looking to put in an 80 minutes performance this Saturday.

England under 20s centre Sam Hill - who is dual registered with Exeter Chiefs and impressed in 2011/12 - is set to make his first appearance for the Pirates this season.

His inclusion is one of three changes in the back-line from the team that started against Leeds, with the other two forming a fresh half-back pairing in Aaron Penberthy and a fit again Gavin Cattle.

Laurie McGlone will lead the side again from No. 8 and is part of a pack which sees starts given to former Moseley lock David Lyons and prop Ryan Storer.

Head coach Ian Davies, commenting ahead of the game, said: "Our emphasis needs to be doing our thing and being accurate with it.

We were good against Leeds in the first half and then went off the boil, so we must strive for that 80 minutes performance."

Cornish Pirates
J. Nowell, G. Pointer, T. Riley, S. Hill, M. Evans,
A. Penberthy, G. Cattle, L. McGlone (capt), P. Burgess, B. Maidment
G. Johnson, D. Lyons, A. Paver, R. Elloway, R. Storer.

J. Yeandle, P. Joyce, D. Barry, T. Kessell, K. Hallett, A. Cheesman, W. Davies. 

What The Papers Say

Birmingham Post
After seeing the burgeoning optimism of recent weeks dissolve into the chill Yorkshire air last Friday night, Moseley head coach Kevin Maggs has restated his conviction his team can still enjoy a successful campaign.

Victory over the Knights would have seen them pull clear of the bottom two and provide more evidence that Maggs’s young squad can depart from recent Red and Black tradition and leave the relegation worries to other clubs.

“I think mid-table is still realistic,” he insisted. “We have narrowly lost to Plymouth and we would have beaten Doncaster if we had brought our A game. I know it’s all ifs and buts but I genuinely believe we are good enough to be mid-table”

 “We know what we have got to do now – every game is important.”

In fact the next few could define their season. Positive results at home to Cornish Pirates this weekend and at Leeds and London Scottish over the next month would do wonders, particularly after the latter two both lost last weekend.

Full Story www.birminghampost.net

Other News This Week

Following their battle against Leeds Carnegie on Sunday, the Cornish Pirates squad headed west for their post match 'recovery' in the surf at Sennen.

Simon Raynes

Cornish Pirates head coach Ian Davies commented: "For four years Simon Raynes has wanted us to do a post match recovery session involving surfing and we finally relented!


Rotherham Titans v Doncaster - Saturday 15:00

Rotherham Titans Doncaster KnightsRotherham Titans v Doncaster
Saturday 3 November
Clifton lane
Kick Off 3pm



Rotherham Titans

Rotherham make 7 changes to the starting line up that lost out to league leaders Newcastle Falcons last Friday evening.

In the back line Pale Nonu returns at inside centre, whilst Mike Doneghan gets another opportunity on the wing. An entire front row change sees Jamie Kilbane, Ted Stagg and Gareth Denman start and Joe Ellyatt comes back into contention at blind side.

Titans acting Head Coach Lee Blackett previewing the game commented, “You only have to look at Doncaster’s recent form to see the massive improvement they have made since the start of the season. I think their confidence will be sky-high coming into this game, particularly after the two good wins against Nottingham and Moseley.

“I’ve watched a number of their matches on DVD and they are playing much better than their results would suggest. Add to that, it’s a South Yorkshire derby and we know it’s going to be a real tough challenge.

“Doncaster are playing quite a bit of rugby at the moment and they are playing through 10 a lot more than they used to, but we know they will take us on at line out time and with the driving mauls. They are a decent all round side and they will pose us challenges all across the park.

“However, in these sorts of games, it usually comes down to physicality and who wants it the most and I’d like to think here at Clifton Lane, we would want it the most.

“Although I don’t think the occasion needs any more spice about it, with the additional incentive of the Yorkshire Regiment Trophy, it will make it a special day for everyone involved. Additionally, players love this type of occasion and being crowned top-dogs in Yorkshire would mean a lot.”

15 Fergus Mulchrone, 14 Peter Homan, 13 Lee Blackett, 12 Pale Nonu,
11 Mike Doneghan, 10 Garry Law (Capt.), 9 Charlie Mulchrone
1 Jamie Kilbane, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Gareth Denman, 4 Toby Freeman
5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Joe Ellyatt, 7 Carl Kirwan, 8 Alex Rieder.

16 Shane Cahill, 17 Marshall Gadd, 18 Ross Davies, 19 Nile Dacres
20 Joel Gill, 21 Ed Styles, 22 Jimmy Williams.

Doncaster Knights

Brett Davey has made a total of four changes to the side that defeated Moseley last week for this weekend’s crucial derby and Yorkshire Regiment Trophy clash with fierce rivals Rotherham Titans.

The South Yorkshire derby is expected as always to be a very physical encounter and with this in mind Davey has reshuffled his backs. Hard running centre James Tincknell has returned to midfield lining up alongside Dante Mama, with the versatile and impressive Will Simpson taking his place on the bench.

Former Rotherham scrum-half Chris Hallam starts for the second leg of the Yorkshire Regiment Trophy behind a forward pack that has just two changes. Brian McGovern returns to the squad having recovered from illness and Andy Boyde receiving the nod for his second start of the season.

The Donny DoR anticipates a close fought match and stresses the need for a high level of discipline over the 80 minutes.

“Saturday will be a tough fixture, Clifton lane has a smaller playing surface and they play it really well.

“We need to be clinical in our execution whilst maintaining a high level of discipline.

“We have been getting better for a long time now, we should never have lost the to Melrose and we played very well against Cornish Pirates, slowly but surely this group of players are getting it right and we’re starting to do some good things.”

Doncaster Knights
15 Jamie Lennard,14 Dougie Flockhart, 13 Dante Mama 12 James Tincknell
11 Tyson Lewis, 10 Tom Luke, 9 Chris Hallam
1 Tom Davies, 2 Rhys Buckley, 3 Brian McGovern, 4 Matt Challinor ©
5 Dominic Parsons, 6 Andy Boyde, 7 Jethro Rawling, 8 Chris Planchant.

16 Jack Bergmanas 17 Ben Sowery, 18 Tomas Francis 19 Phil Hoy
20 Sam Pailor 21 James Munro 22 Will Simpson.

What The Papers Say

Steve Hossack, The Star
Doncaster Knights skipper Matt Challinor is hoping to lead his side to victory against his hometown club in tomorrow’s Championship derby at Clifton Lane.

“Clifton Lane is never an easy place to go and Rotherham don’t lose many games at home, but we’ll be going there in a confident mood after winning our last two games. he told The Star.

“Fly-half Tom Luke has made a big difference since coming back from an early season injury. It’s not just his experience but his organisation.

“We’ve got some good backs but some of them lack experience and they need an old head like Tom."

“Despite our last two results, we still aren’t firing on all cylinders for the full 80 minutes, but hopefully the occasion will help us do that tomorrow.

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk

Other News

After a week of speculation over the future of Rotherham Titans’ coach Andre Bester. he told the club’s directors on Wednesday evening that he was quitting.

Bester’s decision to leave Clifton Lane followed two days of talks at disciplinary hearings, reported to to centre around his attitude and strong personality.

It has been widely rumoured that Rotherham are talking to at least three potential successors and one candidate will be meeting the Titans’ directors this weekend.

Yesterday, the players who are preparing for the derby against Doncaster, were addressed by one of the directors, who explained how the club will move forward now that Bester has gone.

Bester, in a statement, said: “I would like to thank everyone that has worked on a day to day basis closely with me.

 “The fans at Rotherham are legendary. You have carried many a team to victory. I will have fond memories of you.”

Rotherham’s Official Statement

Rotherham Rugby Club can now officially announce that on Wednesday evening Andre Bester tended his resignation as Head Coach of Rotherham Titans with immediate effect.

Rob Hannon CEO of Rotherham Rugby Club said, “We have been in a process with Andre which was to be completed today. Andre has chosen to resign before that process could be completed. Rotherham Titans has acted honestly, decently and with integrity at all times in the best interests of the Club, its staff and supporters.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Andre for his efforts on our behalf and wish him all the very best in the future"  

Rotherham Rugby Club Chairman, Nick Cragg added, “Martin Jenkinson, Director of Rugby, has met with the squad.  Obviously, nobody is happy with the position we find ourselves in, at this stage of the season. 

Nonetheless, the team has shown great spirit and are up for the important challenge on Saturday which sees us, not only play our local rivals Doncaster, but start our campaign in the Yorkshire Regiment Trophy.”

Continuing Nick said, “There has already been significant interest shown from potential replacements for the Head Coach, and we have drawn up a short-list of 6. 

Of these, 4 are in position and cannot be named.  The other 2 are, Alex Codling and Peter Drewett, ex Exeter, both of whom are strong candidates. 

“Until we make an appointment, Lee Blackett will be the Head Coach. I do hope all our fans rally around the Club in this difficult time and give Doncaster a true 'Rotherham welcome.”


Nick Westby Yorkshire Post
It is the second time Bester has left the South Yorkshire club under a cloud, having departed Clifton Lane in 2007.

Rob Hannon, chief executive of Rotherham Rugby Club, said: “We have been in a process with Andre which was to be completed tomorrow.

“Andre has chosen to resign before that process could be completed."

“Rotherham Titans has acted honestly, decently and with integrity at all times in the best interests of the Club, its staff and supporters."

Full Story www.yorkshirepost.co.uk

Guy Williams, The Star
It is not clear who will be appointed as Bester’s successor or when, but officials will be meeting one candidate over the weekend. It is understood there are three experienced coaches who are being considered.

There have been inquiries from agents, but it is known that the three possible appointees have all coached in the Championship and one played a senior role when Wales won the Grand Slam in 2005.

The one name which has appeared in public, Alex Codling, has been in contact with Rotherham’s directors but as he teaches at a school in London, the former London Scottish and Barking forwards’ coach may have contractual problems being released if he were to be appointed. Peter Drewett, formerly of Exeter, is also on the short-list.

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk

Nottingham v Bristol - Sunday 15:00

Nottingham Bristol Rugby Nottingham v Bristol
Sunday 4 November
Meadow Lane
Kick Off 3pm

BBC Radio Bristol



RHYS Crane has recovered from injury and takes his place on the wing for Sunday’s encounter with Bristol at Meadow Lane

The 27-year-old's inclusion in the starting XV and prop Matt Shields' return to the bench are the only changes made by Green and Whites head coach Martin Haag after last week's win over Plymouth.

Crane was voted Nottingham's player of the month for September before breaking his hand in the comprehensive win over Jersey in early October.

Haag wants to see more of the same from the fleet-footed back who ran in four tries in as many games before being sidelined.

"It is a great opportunity for Rhys to come straight back in and hopefully pick up from where he left off," Haag said.

"I'm glad to have Rhys back, but remember that Alex Lewington had a great game on the wing last week and both Jacko (David Jackson) and Jack Cobden have been performing well there in the past few weeks.

"Rhys knows he has to come in and perform because there are guys that are pushing for that place."

Last week's bonus-point victory over Plymouth at The Brickfields was enough for the East Midlands club to consolidate its place in the top three.

Haag said the only way to build on the win is to pick the come-from-behind victory apart, taking the good with the bad, and improving it against former Premiership side Bristol.

"The important thing is to keep going because once you are happy you get complacent," Haag said.

"One of our values is honesty and we are honest about our performances and there are things we can improve on and do better.

"We stood up defensively against Plymouth, but still we leaked missed tackles here and there.  We saw just how hard guys want to work for each other, how great team spirit is and the sort of composure we can play with at times."

15 Andrew Savage 14 David Jackson 13 Joe Cobden 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 Matt Shields 18 Joe Quinn 19 Tom Calladine
20 Finlay Barnham 21 Rory Lynn 22 Jack Bradford.a


Liam Middleton keeps faith in the players that secured a 23-13 victory over Bedford, as Bristol face Nottingham on Sunday.

Having recorded three successive wins in all competitions, the Head Coach names an unchanged line-up for the first time this season.

James Grindal retains the captaincy and will lead the team out at Meadow Lane. Luke Eves – who has yet to miss a minute of RFU Championship rugby during the campaign – is named in the midfield alongside Jack Gadd.

Bristol opt for a four forwards and three backs split on the replacements bench.

Bristol Rugby
Jack Tovey; Ryan Edwards, Luke Eves, Jack Gadd, Mike Tagicakibau
Tristan Roberts, James Grindal (c); Kyle Traynor, Ross Johnston, Gaston Cortes
Ben Glynn, Roy Winters, Redford Pennycook, James Merriman, Mitch Eadie.

Tom Channon, Bruce Douglas, Glen Townson, Iain Grieve, Ruki Tipuna, Adrian Jarvis, George Watkins.

Other News

Nottingham Post
Nottingham centre Tim Streather will see a specialist next week over his hand injury.

And the Green and Whites are hoping the prolific try scorer, 24, will get the green light to return to action when they face Championship leaders Newcastle Falcons.

Streather has been out since breaking a hand in Nottingham's big league win against Jersey at Meadow Lane on October 7, so has missed their last three games.

Head coach Martin Haag is eager to have him back to bolster the Greens in their promotion push.

"He's not a million miles away," he said. "We always thought he would be out for four weeks so he's coming along as we expected him to.

Full Story www.thisisnottingham.co.uk

The Bristol Post
Roy Winters has paid tribute to Bristol's strength and conditioning staff for modifying his training regime so he can continue to be as effective as ever where it matters: on the field.

Bristol lock Winters turns 37 in December, but remains an integral part of Liam Middleton's pack and impressed again in Sunday's 23-13 win over Bedford.

One of the few current professional players to have played senior rugby during the amateur era, Winters is renowned for setting the example to the club's youngsters with his dedicated approach to training.

But he has revealed how his Monday-to-Friday workload has recently been modified to ensure he is firing on all cylinders when the weekend comes around.

"I wish I could do all the training sessions, the same as the boys, and I feel terrible when I don't. But I've finally come to realise that I can't do everything – and what happens on the pitch is most important. I thank the conditioning staff and the coaches for that fact."

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