RFU Championship News

Jan 4th

RFU Championship News


RFU Championship News Friday January 4th 2013

Round 13 Teams & Previews
Plus news and comment from around the clubs and what the papers say.

Tuesday 1 January 2013 
Cornish Pirates 32-17 Bristol 
Doncaster 10-28 Newcastle

Saturday 5 January 2013
London Scottish v Bedford 15:00
Moseley v Jersey 15:00
Rotherham Titans v Nottingham 14:00

Sunday 6 January 2013
Leeds Carnegie v Plymouth Albion 15:00

Cornish Pirates 32-17 Bristol - Tuesday 1st

Cornish PiratesBristol Rugby Cornish Pirates 32-17 Bristol  
Tuesday 1st January
Mennaye Field


Cornish Pirates
15 W. Davies  14 T. Bedford  13 T. Riley  12 J. Fatialofa (22 S. Hill 63)  11 B. Mercer 
10 K. Hallett  9 G. Cattle (capt) (21 T. Kessell 79)  8 L. McGlone  7 P. Burgess 
6 K. Marriott (20 B. Maidment 48)  5 D. Barry (19 G. Johnson 49)  4 D. Lyons 
3 B. Prescott (R. Storer 54)  2 R. Elloway  1 A. Paver

Replacements: un-used 17 D. Semmens & 18 P. Joyce.

Tries: Burgess, Hallett, Mercer, Riley
Cons:  Hallett 3
Pens: Hallett
Drops: Hallett

15 Jon Goodridge  14 Jack Tovey  13 Luke Eves  12 Jack Gadd (22 Fautua Otto 57) 
11 David McIlwaine  10 Adrian Jarvis (21 Tristan Roberts 79)  9 Ruki Tipuna (c)
(20 James Grindal 72)  1 Kyle Traynor  2 Ross Johnston  3 Jason Hobson 
4 Mariano Sambucetti (18 Ben Glynn 54)  5 Glen Townson 
6 Mitch Eadie (17 Bruce Douglas 65-)  7 Redford Pennycook 
8 Alafoti Faosiliva (19 Marco Mama 54)

Replacements: all used

Tries: Traynor, Mama
Cons: Jarvis 2
Pens: Jarvis

Yellow: Hobson

Match Officials
Referee: Steve Lee (RFU)
Assistants: Paul Kimber & Brian Ravenhill

Attendance: 2954

What The Papers Say

Dick Straughan - The Cornishman

BRISTOL must by now absolutely hate playing at the Mennaye Field. They haven't won a competitive fixture at the ground since September 2004 and just as the Pirates can't seem to win at their place Bristol implode regularly in West Cornwall.

Pirates boss Ian Davies clearly enjoyed turning over one of the Championship big boys and will get a chance to do it again at the end of the month when the squad travel to Newcastle.

They will be massive underdogs at Kingston Park but two good wins over the holiday period has given them a taste of the play-off zone for the first time this season. There is a confidence and belief in the Pirates camp which has not been seen too often during this campaign and with Davies himself firing on all cylinders, they are well placed for the latter part of the season.

Full Story www.thisiscornwall.co.uk

The Bristol Post - Bristol head coach Liam Middleton still confident of a top-four finish

LIAM Middleton remains confident Bristol can secure a top-four Championship finish, despite criticising his players' "inaccurate and ill-disciplined" performance in the 32-17 defeat at Cornish Pirates.

Bristol are now two points outside the play-off places with nine league matches to go – but head coach Middleton continues to believe his players have what it takes to make the top four.

"We've got to pick the pieces up and push on to the next game," said Middleton. "I still remain hugely optimistic about our chances of making the top four – and then posing a real threat to whoever plays against us.

"But it is very much one step at a time. I just said to the players that a top-four place is going to have to be something we qualify for one week at a time."

Full Story www.thisisbristol.co.uk

Doncaster 10-28 Newcastle - Tuesday 1st

Doncaster KnightsNewcastle FalconsDoncaster 10-28 Newcastle
Tuesday 1st January
Castle Park

Newcastle Falcons:
L Fielden, Z Kibirige, A Crockett (J Helleur, 70), T Tu’ipulotu, R Shortland,
J Hodgson (W Luveniyali, 64), R Lawson (captain, W Fury, 58); J Golding,
R Vickers (M Thompson, 54), O Tomaszczyk (S Wilson, 55), C Del Fava (J Goode, 68)
J Hudson, M Wilson, R Mayhew (W Welch, 55), T Tu’ifua.

Falcons scorers
Tries: R Lawson, Penalty try, Z Kibirige 2.
Conversions: J Hodgson.
Penalties: J Hodgson 2.

Doncaster Knights:
J Lennard, D Flockhart, D Mama, J Tincknell, T Lewis (A Symons, 40), C Braid
L Silver (C Hallam, 45); T Davies, R Buckley, K Brookes (B McGovern, 54)
M Challinor (captain), D Parsons (R Cadman, 67), S Pailor (A Boyde, 73)
J Rawling (W Hafu, 52), C Planchant.

Doncaster scorers
Tries: J Lennard.
Conversions: J Lennard.
Penalties: J Lennard.

Sin-bin: R Buckley (23 mins), J Tincjnell (30 mins)

Referee: I Tempest
Attendance: 1,702

What The Papers Say

Yorkshire Post  - Bedford the first of number of new faces at struggling Knights

Doncaster Knights started the new year where they ended the old – at the bottom of the Championship table.

And if they are to avoid relegation they will need to offer much more than the determined defence that was repeatedly required at Castle Park against the unbeaten League leaders.

Doncaster’s performance was criticised by director of rugby Clive Griffiths, who felt they had failed to build on a solid effort at Bristol before Christmas.

“We played poorly with the ball, our discipline was poor and had two yellow cards and we have ourselves to blame for not scoring more points,” he said. “I’m not questioning our commitment, but the lack of thought, game management and skill level.”

Doncaster will confirm the signing later this week of scrum-half Joe Bedford, who is returning to Yorkshire after a spell at Newport Gwent Dragons. He previously played for Rotherham and Leeds.

Full Story www.yorkshirepost.co.uk

Mark Smith, Evening Chronicle - Richards far from happy as errors mar latest win

FALCONS boss Dean Richards criticised the execution of his Newcastle side despite the Championship leaders recording maximum points from yesterday’s visit to basement boys Doncaster.

“We came here to do a job, we didn’t do it as well as we wanted to and there were a lot of errors from both sides. Despite all of that we still came away with the five points, and that was the most pleasing thing.”

Crediting committed defence from a Doncaster side who looked better than their league position suggests, Richards said: “If you look at their home record it is not bad at all, even considering their position at the bottom of the league.

They were very competitive, and we expected them to be. This was the most points that any side had put on them at home all season, by a considerable margin, so when you look at it in that way perhaps the result is better than some people might think.”

Full Story www.chroniclelive.co.uk

London Scottish v Bedford - Saturday 5th 15:00

London ScottishBedford BluesLondon Scottish v Bedford
Saturday 5th January
The Athletic Ground
Kick Off 3pm


London Scottish

London Scottish have made four changes from the side that claimed a bonus point in the 12-9 defeat at Newcastle before Christmas.

Miles Mantella replaces Dave McCall on the left wing and Jamie Stevenson gets a start at scrum half.

In the pack, Lewis Calder comes in for Ben Russell, with Chevvy Pennycook moving to blindside flanker. Nick Mayhew, a dual registered signing from Harlequins, starts at loosehead prop.

On the bench are three further dual registered players in forwards Daryl Marfo, Gareth Evans and Joe Trayfoot as Scottish opt for a five forwards two backs split.

 "Bedford are perhaps the best attacking team in the division and our defence will have to be even better than it was at Kingston Park if we are to give ourselves an opportunity of winning". said Director of Rugby Simon Amor

What they’re very good at is exploiting opportunities - if we give them those opportunities and switch off in defence, they will punish us.

London Scottish
15 Jim Thompson; 14 James Love, 13 Oli Grove, 12 Andy Reay
11 Miles Mantella; 10 Phil Godman, 9 Jamie Stevenson;
1 Nick Mayhew, 2 Adam Kwasnicki, 3 Colin Quigley; 4 Paul Spivey
5 Tyler Hotson; 6 Chevvy Pennycook, 7 Lewis Calder, 8 Mark Bright.

16 Daryl Marfo, 17 Gareth Evans, 18 Alex Mackenzie, 19 Josh Thomas Brown
20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Richard Bolt, 22 PJ Gidlow


Despite running in seven tries during the 55-20 reversal at Goldington Road back in September, Mike Rayer’s men know that they will have to put in a huge effort to take anything from the Exiles who ran Newcastle Falcons close in the pre-Christmas Sky fixture.

Bedford are close to a fully fit squad with only long term casualties Sacha Harding and Henry Staff unavailable while dual registered hooker Scott Spurling also misses out. Ollie Dodge has recovered from the ankle injury which he picked up against Bristol two months ago but this weekend’s fixture has come a little too soon.

Bedford make three changes to the side that started against Rotherham on Boxing Day with Luke Baldwin starting at 9 in place of Darryl Veenendaal who moves to the bench while Ricky Reeves and Dan Seal get the nod in the front row in place of Darren Fearn and Phil Boulton who get the weekend off.

15. James Pritchard (c) 14. James Stephenson 13. Brendan Burke 12. Mark Atkinson
11. Josh Bassett 10. Jake Sharp 9. Luke Baldwin
1. Ricky Reeves 2. Neil Cochrane 3. Dan Seal 4. Mike Howard
5. Ben Gulliver 6. Alex Rae 7. Darren Fox 8. Paul Tupai

16. Chris Locke, 17. Ben Cooper, 18. Gregor Gillanders, 19. Don Barrell
20. Darryl Veenendaal, 21. Ian Vass, 22. Ben Ransom.

What The Papers Say

Michael Hann,  Bedford Today - Blues look to Serge on against London Scottish

Bedford Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer is preparing his side to face a new-look London Scottish side at the Athletic Ground on Saturday, writes Michael Hann.

On the prospect of facing a resurgent Scottish side, Rayer said: “I think they are much more combative, obviously the changes to their coaching set-up, from what I saw, has worked pretty well. They look pretty physical, their back-row is as good as any in the Championship and they have got a good balance there. It is a tough ask.”

Full Story www.bedfordtoday.co.uk

Other News This Week

Kevin Affleck, Beds On Sunday - Bedford Blues are a match for Newcastle Falcons

Darren Fearn has summed up the growing belief at Bedford Blues by claiming they are capable of beating his old side Newcastle Falcons.

The loose-head prop, 24, swapped Kingston Park for Goldington Road in the summer and believes his new team have the firepower up front and behind the scrum to topple Dean Richards’ side, who have won 12 out of 12, when the two teams meet in March.

“We can beat them,” Fearn said. “I have no doubt about it. If we play to our potential and back ourselves we can beat them, no question.”

“We are going quietly about our business and we know what we want and that we are good enough to win the league. We have the players and coaches to do it."

Full Story www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk

Moseley v Jersey - Saturday 5th 15:00

MoseleyJersey RugbyMoseley v Jersey 
Saturday 5th January
Billesley Common
Kick Off 3pm


Moseley entertain Jersey at Billesley Common in what promises to be a nerve-jangling bottom of the table clash.

Billesley Common

Before Christmas Jersey gained a tremendous win at home against Leeds in the last round of Championship matches, and this took them above Moseley in the table for the first time this season. Meanwhile the Birmingham side played creditably well at Nottingham without reward, a performance which Coaches Kevin Maggs and Dave Hilton will want to build on.

These sides faced each other in the Channel Isles back in September, with Moseley taking the spoils. Since then Jersey have gained experience and a close contest is expected.

Starting 15:
1. Steffan Thorp; 2. Sam Wilkes; 3. Ben Evans; 4. Addison Lockley
5. Buster Lawrence; 6. Neil Mason; 7. Ben Pons; 8. Ben Pienaar;
9. Sam Brown; 10. Glynn Hughes; 11 Simon Hunt; 12. Charlie Hayter
13. Greg King; 14. Anders Mogenson; 15. Billy Robinson.

16.Danny Herriott; 17. Tom Hicks; 18. Adam Caves; 19. Nigel Burrows
20. Oliver Robinson; 21 Oliver Thomas; 22. Anthony Carter.


Jersey are aiming to make a positive start to 2013, carrying with them the festive feel-good factor from the Christmas win over play-off contenders Leeds.

Winger James Copsey is the only change to Jersey’s starting XV, replacing Ashley Maggs.

Jersey have been boosted by the return of young loan players Max Stelling, the Worcester three-quarter, and hooker Charlie Clare from Leicester. Harvey hopes to have both players available for the rest of the season, subject to any injury concerns at their ‘parent’ clubs.

Stelling, a try-scorer in the 20-17 win over Leeds, starts at outside-centre against the club where he played mini and colts rugby.

Clare is on the bench alongside two players returning from long-term injuries.

Tom Cooper Backs Tom Cooper (Pic left) and Ross Broadfoot haven’t featured since September, but are now fit to commence their comeback in a match environment.

Jersey have yet to register an away win in their first season in the RFU Championship, losing five matches and gaining just two bonus points. By the same token, Moseley have under-achieved at home, registering a draw and four defeats in the league thus far.

1 Sean McCarthy 2 Dave Felton 3 Jon Brennan 4 Nathan Hannay (capt)
5 Dave Markham 6 Graham Bell 7 Kingsley Lang 8 Guy Thompson
9 Nicky Griffiths 10 Mike Le Bourgeois 11 Ed Dawson 12 Dai Bishop
13 Max Stelling 14 James Copsey 15 Glenn Bryce

16 Richard Barrington 17 Charlie Clare 18 James Gethings 19 Rob Anderson
20 Brendan O’Brien 21 Ross Broadfoot 22 Tom Cooper

Other News This Week

Brian Dick, Birmingham Post - Rugby Union Review of 2012

Unfortunately for those at Billesley Common, life at Moseley still means bumping along near the bottom of the Championship.

While rumours abound about an increased playing budget for next season and the development of the hitherto notional grandstand, they aren’t worth anything yet.

Moseley have played 23 league matches this year and won seven, with one draw and just two try bonuses. There have been 15 defeats. If the worm is turning would it very much mind doing so a tad more quickly?

Full Story www.birminghampost.net

Jersey Evening Post - Voss on the mend

Jersey’s James Voss will be out of action for some ten weeks but the Island teenager was still smiling yesterday as he knows it could have been so much worse than that.

A series of operations on his upper right arm, to battle an infection that threatened not only his fledgling career, but the limb itself, has left him reflecting on how quickly things can change.

The towering flanker (18) only just got out of hospital last Saturday with around 80 staples in his arm after a haematoma that developed some time after the home cup clash against Leinster A on 8 December left his arm grotesquely swollen.

Full Story www.thisisjersey.com

Rotherham Titans v Nottingham - Saturday 5th 15:00

Rotherham Titans NottinghamRotherham Titans v Nottingham
Saturday 5th January
Clifton lane
Kick Off 3pm

Rotherham Titans

Rotherham make three changes from the starting side that narrowly lost 22-16 away to Bedford Blues on Boxing Day.

Titans clash with third place Nottingham is seen as a crucial game for the South Yorkshire outfit, as they endeavour to stay within touching distance of a top four RFU Championship spot.

Titans Head Coach Alex Codling has made just one change to the backline, which sees Jimmy Williams return to the starting line-up at scrum half. In the pack Ted Stagg gets the nod at hooker over Dan Baines and Alex Rieder comes back into the fold at number 8, shifting Toby Freeman into the second row for the injured Dan Sanderson.

Currently eight points adrift of 4th spot with a game in hand, Rotherham Titans are fully aware of the importance of the Nottingham clash and realise the Green & Whites will test their resolve to the utmost. Titans will be aiming to complete the league ‘double’ over Nottingham, following arguably their best performance of the season when beating them 16-27 at Meadow Lane back in September.

The overall head to head league record between the sides sees Rotherham edging matters 11-7, with one draw. In fact Nottingham have only won one league encounter at Clifton Lane, that being a 5-19 victory in 2007, demonstrating how difficult a place ‘The Lane’ can be for visiting teams.

Alex Codling, looking ahead to the match-up commented, “The boys have had a few days off over the holiday period to recharge their batteries and they’ve had a well deserved rest. However, they have trained very well this week and are raring to go following two positives results away from home."

15 Garry Law (Capt.), 14 Fergus Mulchrone, 13 Eamonn Sheridan, 12 Lee Blackett
11 Peter Homan, 10 James McKinney, 9 Jimmy Williams
1 Marshall Gadd, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Ross Davies, 4 Toby Freeman
5 Ben Thomas, 6 Latu Makaafi, 7 Carl Kirwan, 8 Alex Rieder.

16 Harry Hannan, 17 Gareth Denman, 18 Jamie Kilbane, 19 Nile Dacres
20 Dan Baines, 21 Ben Howard, 22 Charlie Mulchrone.


RHYS Crane returns to Nottingham's wing for their first RFU Championship game of 2013 after being sidelined with a niggling calf strain in late December.

Crane's inclusion for the trip to Clifton Lane to face Rotherham is one of three changes made to the Green and Whites starting side that overcame Moseley on December 23.

Tom Calladine's impressive form as an impact player in recent weeks is rewarded as he takes his place at No. 8. Alex Shaw, who has started every league game to date this season, moves onto the bench. Jonny Harris comes in for Matt Parr at loosehead prop.

England under-20 lock Tom Price joins the Leicester Tigers dual-registered contingent at Meadow Lane and is poised to make his debut off the bench.

Martin HaagNottingham head coach Martin Haag anticipates a difficult trip to Clifton Lane to face the side that inflicted the first loss of the season on the Green and Whites at Meadow Lane in September.

"With every game we test ourselves, our skills, character and belief and that is what we will need huge amounts of at Rotherham. It is another game on our journey," Haag said.

"We don't read into what happened last time. That was a long time ago, they played well that day and a lot has changed since then."

Nottingham starts the New Year sitting in third place on the Championship ladder, five points ahead of Cornish Pirates with a game in hand.

Haag is aware of the strong chasing pack just outside the top four, and chooses to ignore them to concentrate all attention on the short trip to Yorkshire.

"We can't control what Cornish Pirates are doing, what Bristol are doing, Newcastle or Leeds or Doncaster, we can only control how we perform and the only thing we are concentrated on is Rotherham," Haag said.

"The only pressure that we have is on ourselves, the pressure to perform, individually and collectively."

15 David Jackson 14 Alex Lewington 13 Tim Streather 12 Joe Munro
11 Rhys Crane 10 James Arlidge 9 Sean Romans
1 Jonny Harris 2 Shaun Malton 3 Michael Holford 4 Dan Montagu
5 Nic Rouse 6 Rupert Cooper 7 Brent Wilson 8 Tom Calladine.

16 Scott Wright 17 Ryan Bower 18 Tom Price 19 Alex Shaw
20 Finlay Barnham 21 Joe Cobden 22 Andy Forsyth.

What The Papers Say

Nottingham Post - We must improve – starting at Rotherham, says Wilson

BRENT WilsonBRENT Wilson is demanding the Green and Whites start the new year better than they finished the last.

The hard-fought victory over Moseley at Meadow Lane late last month was enough to cement Nottingham firmly in third place at the midway stage of the season.

"It was a pretty disappointing way to finish the year because, at home, a performance like that is not good enough. It was a scrappy game and we were not all there for it.

"The positive is that we finished the year in a strong position on that ladder."

Still, Nottingham are under no illusions heading into 2013 which kick-offs with a trip to face Rotherham on Saturday. "If we want to stay in the play-off spots, we have to learn from that performance against Moseley and be more clinical in what we do. We left tries out there and that is not something we like to do.”

Full Story www.thisisnottingham.co.uk

Other News This Week

Leeds Carnegie v Plymouth Albion - Sunday 6th 15:00

Leeds CarnegiePlymouth AlbionLeeds Carnegie v Plymouth Albion
Sunday 5th January
Headingley Stadium
Kick Off 3pm


Leeds Carnegie

New loan signing Rory Clegg will make his debut for Leeds Carnegie in the clash with Plymouth Albion at Headingley Carnegie.

Fly half Clegg joined Leeds Carnegie this week from Aviva Premiership Champions Harlequins and comes into the starting line up on his 23rd birthday.

Youngster Matt Clark starts on the wing with Josh Griffin returning in the centres after overcoming injury.

Leeds Carnegie
15. Stevie McColl 14. Matt Clark 13. Josh Griffin 12. Fred Burdon
11. David Doherty 10. Rory Clegg 9. James Doherty
1. Sam Lockwood 2. Phil Nilsen 3. Ben Hooper 4. Calum Green
5. Dominic Barrow 6. Rob Baldwin 7. Jacob Rowan (c) 8. Ryan Burrows

16. Joe Graham 17. Ben Harris 18. Damien Tussac 19. Matt Smith
20. Chris Walker 21. Craig Hampson 22. Christian Georgiou

Plymouth Albion

Lock Brett Beukeboom and scrum-half Ruairi Cushion return following illness as Plymouth Albion look to get off to a winning start in 2013 at Leeds on Sunday.

The pair missed Albion’s narrow 9-5 defeat to the Cornish Pirates on Boxing Day, but both return to the starting line-up for this weekend’s long trip to Headingley.

The only other change to Albion’s line-up is on the wing where the experienced Paul Bailey replaces the injured Lewis Warner.

Close games have become something of a normal between Albion and Leeds in recent years.

The last three meetings between the clubs have been decided by five points or less, with Albion narrowly winning a thriller 32-31 at Brickfields at the start of the season.

15 Rhodri McAtee 14 Paul Bailey 13 Toby Howley-Berridge 12 Keni Fisilau
11 Tom Bowen 10 Paul Roberts 9 Ruairi Cushion
1 Luke Cowan-Dickie 2 Jon Vickers 3 David Morton 4 Brett Beukeboom
5 Rupeni Nasiga 6 Sean-Michael Stephen (capt) 7 Sam Matavesi 8 Aaron Carpenter

16 Jack Arnott, 17 Bevon Armitage, 18 Ben Rogers, 19 Lloyd Fairbrother
20 Tom Cowan-Dickie, 21 Harrison Tovey, 22 Wayne Sprangle.

What The Papers Say

Sara Raine,  The Herald - Saumi hopes Albion rediscover winning formula in 2013

AT SAUMINAT SAUMI is hoping his team can make a winning start to 2013 when they head to Leeds on Sunday.

Albion go into the new year with five wins to their name.It is exactly the same situation as they were in at the start of 2012. Last year, with the club in chaos, they managed just one more regular league win.

But Saumi wants his eight-place team to clocked up a lot more wins as they try to pull away from bottom four – starting on Sunday at Headingley.

"Some of the goals and targets that we have aimed for we missed," he said. "There were some home games we should have won when we haven't. "But I've reminded the boys that it is a new year. The past has gone and now we just have to take one game at a time.

Full Story www.thisisplymouth.co.uk