RFU Championship News

7th

RFU Championship News 7th September

 
 

RFU Championship News Friday 7th September 2012

Round 2 Teams & Previews
Plus news and comment from around the clubs and what the papers say.

Friday September 7
Doncaster Knights v Bristol Rugby 19:45
Leeds Carnegie v Jersey 20:00

Saturday September 8
London Scottish v Newcastle Falcons 15:00
Moseley v Nottingham 15:00

Sunday September 9
Cornish Pirates v Plymouth Albion 15:00
Rotherham Titans v Bedford Blues 15:00


Doncaster Knights v Bristol Rugby Friday 19:45

Doncaster KnightsBristol Rugby Doncaster v Bristol
Friday 7th September 2012
Castle Park
Kick Off 7:45pm

Doncaster Knights
Following the Knights disappointing narrow defeat to Plymouth in the league opener last week Brett Davey’s men will be looking for bounce straight back, but are fully aware of the challenge the side from the South West pose.

There are a couple of changes from the fifteen that started last week; full-back Michael Keating’s shoulder injury means that Dougie Flockhart will switch from the wing with Tyson Lewis coming in on the other.

Will Simpson also gets his first Championship start at inside centre along with Louis Silver who is preferred at scrum-half versus his former club after both impressed from the bench last week. In the forwards there are two changes with Phil Hoy and Adam Kettle coming in at lock and number eight respectively.

Bristol’s injury concerns continue to mount ahead of tonights match

Marco Mama and David McIlwaine – both of whom sustained head injuries against Newcastle – are ruled out.

Ben Mosses, who joined on short-tem loan from Bath earlier this week, is named among the replacements.

Liam Middleton makes four changes to his pack from the side that went down 20-37 to Falcons on the opening day.

Bruce Douglas is selected in the front row, while Roy Winters and Ben Glynn form the second-row partnership.

Scotland U20s and Academy back-rower Mitch Eadie comes in at no.8 as Bristol go in search of a first league win of the campaign.

Bristol Rugby
Jon Goodridge; Mike Tagicakibau, Jack Gadd, Luke Eves, Ryan Edwards
Tristan Roberts, James Grindal; Kyle Traynor, Ross Johnston, Bruce Douglas
Ben Glynn, Roy Winters, Iain Grieve, Redford Pennycook, Mitch Eadie.

Replacements:
Rhys Lawrence, Wayne Thompson, Glen Townson, James Merriman
Ruki Tipuna, Matt Jones, Ben Mosses.

Doncaster Knights
15) Dougie Flockhart 14) Dante Mama 13) James Tincknell 12) Will Simpson
11) Tyson Lewis 10) Jamie Lennard 9) Louis Silver
1) Tom Davies 2) Rhys Buckley 3) Brian Mcgovern 4) Royce Cadman
5) Phil Hoy 6) Matt Challinor 7) Jethro Rawling 8) Adam Kettle

Replacements
16 Jerry Cronin, 17 Ben Sowery, 18 Dom Parsons, 19 Andy Boyd
20 Sam Pailor, 21 Chris Hallam, 22 Tom Barrett.

What The Papers Say

The Star
Knights’  director of rugby Brett Davey told the Star: "We are better than we played at Plymouth and we know we are. It’s just a shame it happened on the first day of the season when you are looking to get off to a winning start.

“We know we’ve got a tough start against Bristol because they finished top of the league last year, only to miss out on promotion in the play-offs.

“Unlike ourselves, they’ve kept the majority of last year’s squad. They’ve lost one or two players but they’ve also brought some quality players in”

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk

The Bristol Evening Post
The Post reports that Liam Middleton has warned his players not to expect a repeat of their last, try-laden visit to Doncaster when they return to Castle Park this evening.

He is taking nothing for granted this evening, with both Bristol and Doncaster going in search of their first victories of the new season.

"We had two good victories up there last year," said Middleton, "But they are very physical at home and quite a dangerous side – we've looked at their footage and they certainly pose some questions in attack.

Full Story www.thisisbristol.co.uk


Leeds Carnegie v Jersey Friday 20:00

Leeds CarnegieJersey Rugby Leeds Carnegie v Jersey
Friday 7th September 2012
Headingley
Kick Off 8pm

Leeds Carnegie
Head Coach Diccon Edwards has made two changes to his side to face Jersey at Headingley  tonight.

The first change comes in the backline with Josh Griffin coming in for his debut after signing last week from Super League club Castleford Tigers. The Oxford born centre has only played professionally in Rugby League but has joined Leeds Carnegie on a two year contract. He scored 14 tries in 21 appearances this season for Castleford. He starts at centre with Pete Lucock replacing Curtis Wilson on the wing.

The other change comes in the forwards with Mike Myerscough swapping places with Calum Green after coming on as a replacement in last week’s narrow defeat at Nottingham.

Doherty excited by Friday Night Rugby

New Leeds Carnegie signing David Doherty says he is excited to play under the floodlights at Headingley Carnegie as his new club takes on one of his former clubs, Jersey.

Doherty, who returned to Leeds where his career began back in 2004 this summer, spent a season in the Channel Islands two years ago and is expecting a tough challenge from the Championship new boys.

The winger commented, “I am really looking forward to playing at Headingley Carnegie again under the lights on a Friday night. It was good to get a game under our belts last week at Nottingham but everyone is frustrated that we didn’t get the win, we are determined to make amends for that on Friday.

Whilst Jersey are playing their first away game since promotion to the second tier of English club rugby, Doherty says that they will not be overawed by the occasion.

He added, “Jersey are a great club and they will relish the challenge. They have a great coach and terrific group of players who have achieved a lot together. I have had some banter with the guys via text messages this week and they will see the chance to play at Headingley Carnegie as a great opportunity. We need to match that enthusiasm and make sure that we take the chances that we create.”

More OnThis Story At www.leedscarnegie.com

Jersey
Jersey will play in their first-ever evening match when they travel to Yorkshire to face Leeds Carnegie .

Director of Rugby Ben Harvey makes three changes to his starting XV from the opening weekend, when the Islanders were defeated by Cornish Pirates by 20-6.

With Dai Bishop and Ed Dawson out through injury, a reshuffled back line sees Tom Cooper brought into the centre, Glenn Bryce and James Copsey on the wings, and Mike Le Bourgeois – a half-time replacement against the Pirates – promoted to wear the 15 shirt.

Seven of last Saturday’s starting pack will line up at Headingley, the change coming at lock where Dave Markham earns a starting berth alongside skipper Nathan Hannay, with Rob Anderson moving to the replacements’ bench.

Summer signing Fred Silcock, formerly of Loughborough Students, is in line to make his Jersey debut from the bench. Silcock will be one of five forwards among the Jersey subs, also including Kingsley Lang, who has recovered from injury and is ready to play his first game since March.

Also called up to the squad is former Bristol wing Ashley Maggs, who is ready to start his fifth season as a Jersey player after being re-signed by Harvey in August.

“Leeds are a big club who have played at the top level, and Headingley is a great place to play,” stated Harvey. “I know my squad will enjoy the experience of playing there, under lights, and if they play to their potential then I firmly believe we can beat anyone.”

Leeds Carnegie
15. Stevie McColl 14. Pete Lucock 13. Josh Griffin 12. Freddie Burdon
11. David Doherty 10. Joe Ford 9. James Doherty
1. Lee Imiolek 2. Phil Nilsen 3. Ben Hooper 4. Mike Myerscough
5. Dan Hemingway 6. Richard Beck 7. Jacob Rowan (c) 8. Ryan Burrows

Replacements
16. Joe Graham 17. Ben Harris 18. Damien Tussac 19. Calum Green
20. Dominic Barrow 21. Craig Hampson 22. Jamel Chisholm

Jersey
1 Richard Barrington 2 Steve Boden 3 Ben Evans 4 Nathan Hannay (Capt)
5 Dave Markham 6 Talite Vaioleti 7 Guy Thompson 8 Nick Trower
9 Nicky Griffiths 10 Ross Broadfoot 11 James Copsey 12 Tom Cooper
13 Donovan Sanders 14 Glenn Bryce 15 Mike Le Bourgeois

Replacements
16 Dave Felton 17 Sean McCarthy 18 Rob Anderson 19 Kingsley Lang
20 Fred Silcock 21 Brendan O’Brien 22 Ashley Maggs

What The Papers Say

Jersey Evening Post
Boosted by a ‘cavalry charge’ of returning players, Jersey will come face-to-face with the renowned rugby city of Leeds when they step out at Headingley on Friday night.

Just two years ago, in April 2010, more than 10,000 supporters saw Leeds defeat Worcester 12-10 to retain their top-flight status; on the same weekend Jersey attracted their own bumper crowd – around 2,000 – and thrashed Taunton 65-14 in the National Three Championship semi-final

Full Story www.thisisjersey.com

BBC Sport
Jersey director of rugby Ben Harvey  told the BBC "We're very confident we can go there and play better than we did at the weekend,"

"We know we've got the players and systems in place, we've just got to go out and execute them properly.

"We're going into every game believing that we can win and if we play to our potential we will win the game.

Full Story www.bbc.co.uk

BBC Sport
Jersey centre Donovan Sanders has called on his team-mates to "keep their heads up" after their first home league defeat in nearly a year.

The islanders lost 20-6 to Cornish Pirates in what was Jersey's first ever match in the Championship.

"We've got to bounce back, keep our heads up and look forward to the next game," said Sanders.”

Full Story www.bbc.co.uk


London Scottish v Newcastle Falcons Saturday 15:00

London ScottishNewcastle Falcons London Scottish v Newcastle
Saturday 8th September
The Athletic Ground
Kick Off 3pm

London Scottish
After an opening weekend victory against Rotherham Titans, London Scottish will be looking to maintain winning ways against Newcastle Falcons for their second successive home game in the RFU Championship.

The Falcons will come to Richmond off the back of an opening day victory themselves, after maximum points against Bristol.

London Scottish Man of the Match v Rotherham, James Love, is fully aware of the threat Newcastle pose.

Love: “Obviously, we are going into this game as underdogs, so all the pressure is on them. We are going to give it all we've got and play how we know we can play. We've got a lot of ability and talent in the team, so you can't write us off."

Newcastle Falcons
Falcons have made three changes for Saturday’s trip to London Scottish as Dean Richards’ men look to make it two wins out of two.

Grant Shiells and James Hall start in the front row replacing Jonny Golding and Oliver Tomaszczyk, while Richard Mayhew gets the nod in the back-row.

The Falcons stick with the same back-line that earned them a bonus-point 37-20 victory at Bristol last weekend thanks to tries from Luke Fielden (2), Tane Tu’ipulotu and Ally Hogg.

A winning start was the perfect tonic for Richards, but the experienced boss insists his side must be in the right frame of mind if they are to take the spoils in the capital.

“London Scottish are an interesting team and have a lot of danger in their side, and are a potential banana skin for us,” said Richards.

“You can’t underestimate them and in various positions they have some quality, so if we go into the game with half an attitude instead of being on top of the game then we will come unstuck.

“They have a quick back three and a large midfield, and they are very competitive upfront so they will be a very difficult side to play against,” he added.

Leaving the Memorial Stadium with maximum points last weekend, Richards wants his unit to be mentally prepared for the clash at the Athletic Ground.

Richards said: “We didn’t play as well as we could have done and although we got the five points, we could have done a lot better.

“The mental side of playing in the RFU Championship is one of the things we talked a lot about during my first season at Harlequins, which ultimately saw us promoted back to the Premiership.

“We have not really done it much at Newcastle yet, but I will be deliberately making the point to the players today before we set off for London.

“What I will be touching on is that you go to these grounds and the facilities will not be what you are used to in the Premiership.

“The stands won’t be as big, the refereeing will be different and it all combines to make it a difficult time for some of these boys when we play away.

“You have just got to take care of all these things during your mental preparation, look after them and make sure they don’t affect your performance.”

London Scottish
15 Jim Thompson 14 James Love 13 Dave McCall 12 PJ Gidlow
11 Miles Mantella 10 Oli Grove 9 Richard Bolt
1 Alex Clarke 2 Adam Kwasnicki 3 Aaron Liffchak 4 Sam Twomey
5 Tyler Hotson 6 Joe Trayfoot 7 Chevvy Pennycook 8 Mark Bright (c)

Replacements:
16 Mungo Strachan 17 Alex MacKenzie 18 Josh Thomas Brown 19 Ben Lonergan
20 Ross Samson 21 Dan Mugford 22 David Howells

Newcastle Falcons:
15 Luke Fielden, 14 Andy Higgins, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu
11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Chris Pilgrim
1 Grant Shiells, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 James Hall, 4 Sean Tomes, 5 James Hudson
6 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Richard Mayhew

Reps:
16 Matt Thompson, 17 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 18 Scott MacLeod, 19 Mark Wilson
20 Jordi Pasqualin, 21 James Fitzpatrick, 22 Waisea Luveniyali

Other News From Scottish

London Scottish have announced the departure of Forwards & Defence Coach Alex Codling.

As well as his role at London Scottish, Codling is also Director of Sport at Trinity School in Croydon.

With the increased demands upon the coaching set up with the onset of the club's second season of Championship rugby, as well as his day-to-day responsibilities at Trinity School Codling has decided to focus on his commitments at Trinity School.

Full Story www.londonscottish.com

What The Papers Say

The Journal
“We’re all stronger together”, Tane Tu’ipulotu told Mark Smith of  The Journal

Tane Tu’ipulotu has revealed how a bit of old-school team bonding is helping Newcastle Falcons lay the foundations for their Championship title push.

While progress on the field remains the principle barometer for the club, the former Wellington and Hurricanes back is firm in his belief that team spirit and togetherness are a vital part of the picture.

“It has been really good so far,” he said, having turned down the option of an extra season in the lucrative Japanese Top League to make his Tyneside return.

Full Story www.journallive.co.uk


Moseley v Nottingham Saturday 15:00

MoseleyNottingham Moseley v Nottingham
Saturday 8th September
Billesley Common
Kick off  3pm

Moseley
After a disappointing start to this year’s campaign, with a heavy defeat at Bedford, Moseley take on Nottingham in another Midlands’ clash this Saturday.

Coaches Kevin Maggs and David Hilton have reacted to last week’s loss by making four changes to the starting line-up. In the backs the experienced Brad Hunt returns, after suspension, to the centre, with Anthony Carter moving to full-back. At scrum-half Sam Brown makes way for Alex Day.

The sole change in the pack sees lock Mike Powell make his Moseley league debut as Captain after being unavailable last week.

Despite the Bedford reverse Maggs remains upbeat. “We know that we let ourselves and our supporters down last week,” he said. “I will be looking for a reaction from the players, and there is no better occasion to make one than against such a tough opposition as Nottingham”.

NottinghamRugby
Nottingham have named an unchanged line-up for tomorrow’s meeting with Moseley.

Green and Whites backs coach Ben Johnston said the hoodoo gurus who earned Nottingham its first opening day win since 2005 had done everything to retain the faith put in them.

“It was a good collective performance to overcome Leeds the way we did,” Johnston said

“The team deserves to be rewarded for this with the chance to go again this weekend.”

In this case, there was no inclination to tinker with a winning formula after Nottingham stormed back from a 17 point deficit to overcome Leeds Carnegie 34-29 at Meadow Lane

From the seasoned half-back combination of Sean Romans and James Arlidge, to Dan Montagu’s return to Meadow Lane as a lock, Alex Shaw’s man-of-the-match showing at No. 8 and the powerful two-try performance by Andrew Savage, there were plenty of highlights to back-up this week’s selection.

And yet, more is still expected of the outfit.

“We started brilliantly, we went three points up in the first few minutes and our attack looked to be going really well,” Johnston said.

“Then we seemed to fall away, our accuracy wasn’t there, we missed a line-out, we gave away silly penalties, so we have spoken a lot about discipline and how that needs to improve against Moseley.”

The bonus point victory may have ensured the East Midlands outfit collected five competition points, but it’s the way the team took its first confident step of 2012/13 that made it a showing to relish.

“To win close games helps build character, and if you can sneak a few close wins like that it becomes a habit and the team is better for it,” Johnston said.

And that’s precisely the attitude that Nottingham is approaching Moseley with on Saturday.

Johnston said it would be foolish to be sucked into a false sense of security by pausing too long on Moseley’s heavy 50-6 opening day loss to Bedford.

It’s what the score-line fails to highlight which has been the focus of Nottingham’s attention this week.

“Going through the tape of their loss its plain to see that they created chances and that scoreline could have been very different,” Johnston said.

“If we underestimate them, they are capable of putting points on us. We watched them against Northampton and they are active with the ball, are hungry to play and always look for the offload.

“It’s going to be a case of us trying to shut them down and making sure we give them as little space as possible to play.”

Moseley:
1. Ethan Waller; 2.Adam Caves; 3. Craig Voisey; 4.Addison Lockley
5.Mike Powell 6.Neil Mason; 7.Ben Pons; 8.Ben Pienaar
09. Alex Day; 10.Glynn Hughes; 11. Anders Mogenson; 12.Charlie Hayter;
13. Brad Hunt; 14.Simon Hunt; 15. Anthony Carter

Replacements:
16.Sam Wilkes;17. Liam Mather; 18.Chaz Meddick; 19.Oliver Robinson
20. Sam Brown; 21. Brad Davies; 22. Oliver Thomas

Nottingham
1 Matt Parr 2 Joe Duffey 3 Michael Holford 4 Dan Montagu
5 Nic Rouse 6 Rupert Cooper 7 Brent Wilson 8 Alex Shaw
9 Sean Romans 10 James Arlidge 11 Rhys Crane 12 Joe Munro 13 Tim Streather
14 Ryan Hough 15 Andrew Savage.

Replacements
16 Jimmy Stevens 17 Ryan Bower 18 Joe Quinn 19 Tom Calladine
20 Finlay Barnham 21 Rory Lynn 22 Joe Cobden.

What The Papers Say

Brian Dick, Birmingham Post
Moseley’s desire to return to the days when they grew their own has seen a summer reshuffle, one Simon Bartlett hopes will stem the flow of talent away from Billesley Common.

Encouraged by Maggs, who has handed young scrum-half Dave Brazier the chance to bridge the gap, Bartlett wants to turn what is a barely-discernible trickle of talent into the first team into something more established.

It is the club’s latest attempt to deal with the loss of 19-year-olds who have come through the system but looked elsewhere to take their first steps in the adult game.

Full Story www.birminghampost.net

Nottingham Post
Nottingham needed to make big changes for the new season after they blew it in the Championship play-offs in April, says prop Michael Holford.

"We had a very good squad last season, but we under-performed in some games and we didn't get over the finishing line," said Holford. "You could say we choked a bit because we had some very experienced ex-Premiership and international players.

"We should have done better, but that will drive us on this season.

Full Story www.thisisnottingham.co.uk


Cornish Pirates v Plymouth Albion Sunday 15:00

Cornish PiratesNewcastle Falcons Pirates v Albion
Sunday 9th September
Mennaye Field
Kick Off 3pm

Live On Pirates TV

Cornish Pirates
Derby game with Albion always attracts extra interest and this is certainly the case with this match.

Both won their Championship openers, the Pirates recording a 20- win away to Jersey whilst Albion downed Doncaster Knights 27-22 in a tense game at the Brickfields.

Albion's win against 'Donny' came after scoring 240 points in their pre-season friendlies, winning 67-0 against the Cornish All Blacks, Taunton 82-19, Redruth 55-19 and at Worcester 3-36.

The scores suggest there's plenty of open rugby to be witnessed from Nat Saumi's side this season.

A familiar face making a quick return to the Mennaye Field on Sunday, is full-back Rob Cook.

The talented star fills the gap vacated by Grant Pointer who was injured against Jersey, and he arrives back on loan to the Pirates having joined Gloucester earlier in the summer.

Rob has featured for the 'Cherry & Whites' in pre-season friendlies and was in good form with the boot last Monday when taking over the kicking duties in Gloucester's 82-0 'A' league win against Worcester.

Plymouth Albion, like the Pirates, also have a good working relationship with Exeter Chiefs, whereby a number of gifted young players are dual-registered with the club

They also have a very familiar face in wing Rhodri McAtee, who after eight years departed the Pirates at the end of last season, Rhodri along with other former Pirates Tom Cowan-Dickie and Lloyd Fairbrother will be given a warm reception on Sunday.

Other new boys include former Leicester Academy wing Tom Bowen and Canadian international lock Brett Beukeboom, who both scored tries against Doncaster, and a further recent addition to their squad is Fijian second/back-row forward Rupeni Nasiga.

Plymouth Albion
Albion will be looking to make it two wins out of two when they make the trip across the Tamar on Sunday to take on West Country rivals the Cornish Pirates.

Albion opened their season with a hard-earned 27-22 victory over Doncaster Knights at Brickfields last Saturday and director of rugby/head coach Nat Saumi would love to add another four points this week against his former club.

"I am looking forward to going down there," said Saumi. "I just hope the boys play well and come up with something."

"Last season we managed just one away win, but there is confidence in the boys."

Albion make three changes to their team that beat Doncaster last weekend.

Dual-registered youngster Henry Slade is unavailable this week so Louis Messer will make his league debut for Albion at full-back.

The other changes to the starting line-up see Plymouth-born teenager Jack Arnott replace Tom Bowen on the wing and prop Jack Andrew, whose brother Paul plays for the Pirates, come in for David Morton.

Tom Cowan-Dickie, who played for the Pirates last season, is added the bench, as is Albion's all-time record appearance holder Keni Fisilau and summer signing Ien Ascroft-Leigh.

Hooker Cowan-Dickie is one of three Albion players who were in the Pirates squad last term. The other two are Rhodri McAtee, who enjoyed eight seasons with the Pirates, and prop Lloyd Fairbrother.

Cornish Pirates:
R. Cook, T. Bedford, T. Riley, J. Fatialofa, M. Evans
K. Hallett, G. Cattle (capt), B. Maidment, P. Burgess, K. Marriott
G. Johnson, D. Lyons, B. Prescott, R. Elloway, P. Andrew.

Replacements:
R. Storer, D. Semmens, C. Morgan, D. Barry, T. Kessell, A. Penberthy, A. Cheeseman.

Albion:
15 Louis Messer; 14 Rhodri McAtee; 13 Paul Bailey; 12 Bevon Armitage
11 Jack Arnott; 10 Paul Roberts; 9 Paul Rowley;
1 Jack Andrew; 2 Jon Vickers; 3 Lloyd Fairbrother; 4 Brett Beukeboom
5 Sean Michael-Stephen (capt); 6 Herbie Stupple; 7 Sam Hocking; 8 Aaron Carpenter.

Replacements
16 Ruairi Cushion; 17 Tom Bowen; 18 Keni Fisilau; 19 David Morton; 20 Tom Cowan-Dickie; 21 Rupeni Nasiga; 22 Ien Ascroft-Leigh

Referee: Matt Carley (RFU)             
Assistants: Jonathan Healy & Darryl Chapman

Assessor: Steve Leyshon

What The Papers Say

Western Morning News
Cornish Pirates head coach Ian Davies is expecting a new challenge from Plymouth Albion when the sides meet at Mennaye Field on Sunday.

Davies has been impressed by the progress his opposite number Nat Saumi has made since taking over from former director of rugby Pete Drewett last season.

He said: "They had a good win against Doncaster last week and played some good rugby, perhaps more rugby than Plymouth have played in the last few years. It should be a good game.

"Albion are very much like a new team now. They are playing differently to how they traditionally play."

Full Story www.thisiscornwall.co.uk

Western Morning News
The return to the Albion starting line-up of prop Andrew means he could be facing his older brother Paul, who plays in the front-row for the Pirates.

"It would be nice to play against him again," said Andrew. "It was interesting last year. I played against him twice last year and lost both, so hopefully we can change that this time."

Andrew admitted his team-mates found the idea of him playing against his brother more interesting than he does.

Andrew said his brother was quite good last season and did not give him too much stick about beating him twice.

Full Story www.thisisdevon.co.uk


Rotherham Titans v Bedford Blues Sunday 15:00

Rotherham Titans Bedford Blues Rotherham v Bedford
Sunday 9th September
Clifton Lane
Kick Off 3pm

Rotherham Titans
Titans welcome league leaders Bedford Blues to Clifton Lane on Sunday.

Titans, who narrowly lost 26-20 at London Scottish on the opening day, will be determined to open their account at Clifton Lane with a victory over the Blues.

However, last season’s Championship runners-up and losing semi finalist are sure to provide stern opposition and with the stats showing that Bedford have won 13 of the last 15 contests between the sides, Titans are acutely aware of the difficult challenge ahead.

Titans Head Coach Andre Bester makes just one change to his starting line-up. Dan Sanderson comes into the side at lock, moving Barney Maddison to blind side flanker in place of Toby Freeman. Latu Makaafi gets the nod for a place on the bench with the likeable Tongan eager to impress when his opportunity arises.

Looking ahead to the match Andre Bester said, “Bedford have match winners all over the pitch and we have prepared with the greatest respect for them.

Their approach to the game will not change; everyone aspires to play the Bedford way because they play a total game. They can play a close-quarter game if they have to and they can strike out wide when they have to.

Having said that, I am looking for a very good performance from our boys and I know if we get that, the result will take care of itself.”

Bedford Blues
Following their impressive opening day victory against Moseley last weekend, Bedford Blues are in a cautious mood as they travel to Clifton Lane for the always tricky Championship tie against Rotherham.

A trip to South Yorkshire on a Sunday afternoon is always a big ask and the Blues know that the Titans will want to create their normal fortress especially following their first round loss away at London Scottish the previous week.

The Blues head up the M1 with an almost fully fit squad with the only exception being Chris Locke who is out for four weeks with a knee injury while James Stephenson and Alex Rae picked up minor knocks last weekend.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s game, Blues forwards coach Martin Hynes said: “A trip up to Rotherham is always a huge encounter and with it coming so soon into the season, it is sure to test our physical and mental attitude as a squad.

I think that we’ve played Rotherham eight times in the last two seasons so it’s fair to say that we know a little bit about each other. Results at Clifton Lane always have to be earned so it’s going to take another big eighty for us to get what we want.

“Once again, Andre Bester has recruited some big boys in the forwards and in the backs so we are expecting a very attritional game. We’ve taken a look at their game against London Scottish and we can see that they have a very powerful squad who will be doing all they can to muscle us out of the game.

“We had a great start to the season last weekend but we also know that there is plenty of work to do if we want to push for a top four finish. It was extremely pleasing not to concede any tries against Moseley but Rotherham on their home ground will pose a far different challenge.”

Bedford make three changes to the team which ran in seven tries against Moseley with Ollie Dodge, Mike Howard and Ricky Reeves coming in for their first starts of the season in place of James Stephenson, Alex Rae and Dan Seal. Paul Tupai takes a place on the bench alongside Darren Fox who was unavailable last week due to family commitments.

Titans:
15 Mike Whitehead, 14 Eamonn Sheridan, 13 Lee Blackett (Capt.)
12 Pale Nonu, 11 Peter Homan, 10 James McKinney, 9 Jimmy Williams
1 Jamie Kilbane, 2 Dan Baines, 3 Ross Davies, 4 Neale Patrick
5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Barney Maddison, 7 Carl Kirwan, 8 Alex Rieder.

Replacements:
16 Ted Stagg, 17 Marshall Gadd, 18 Simon Gardiner, 19 Rory Pitman
20 Latu Makaafi, 21 Joel Gill, 22 Charlie Mulchrone or Mike Doneghan or Garry Law*
*Subject to a medical

Bedford Blues
15. James Pritchard (c) 14. Ollie Dodge 13. Brendan Burke 12. Henry Staff
11. Josh Bassett 10. Jake Sharp 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. Don Barrell

Replacements:
16. Scott Spurling, 17. Ben Cooper, 18. Dan Seal, 19. Paul Tupai
20. Darren Fox, 21. Darryl Veenendaal, 22. Ian Vass

What The Papers Say

Guy Williams The Star
Rotherham Titans’ medical staff are working flat out to try to make sure that fly half Garry Law is fit to make his first league appearance of the new season against Bedford Blues on Sunday.

Law, who scored 250 points last season in his first year at the Titans, missed last Sunday’s opening Championship 26-20 defeat against London Scottish because of an ankle injury.

However, optimistic reports strongly suggest that Law may well be fit to play in the club’s first home game; his return would undoubtedly boost Rotherham who lost by just six points at Scottish in a competitive performance which satisfied coach Andre Bester.

Full Story www.thestar.co.uk

Michael Hann, The Times & Citizen
Mike Rayer believes his side will need to be at their best if they are to beat Rotherham on Sunday.

Rayer was in attendance as the Titans lost their opening fixture but despite this he is expecting a difficult challenge.

“They were very physical and have got some good players who play to their strengths,” he said.

“We have gone up there for many years now and it is never an easy game. I think the big thing is that they are at home and will feel under pressure.

“They have got to get a win under their belt now after losing their first game so I am sure they will be fired up in front of their home fans.

Full Story www.bedfordtoday.co.uk

Bedfordshire On Sunday
Martin Hynes has warned the Bedford Blues squad that they can expect another physical, attritional battle when they travel to Rotherham Titans for their second game of the season on Sunday.

"We’ve taken a look at their game against London Scottish and we can see that they have a very powerful squad who will be doing all they can to muscle us out of the game.

“We had a great start to the season last weekend but we also know that there is plenty of work to do if we want to push for a top four finish.

"It was extremely pleasing not to concede any tries against Moseley but Rotherham on their home ground will pose a far different challenge.”

Full Story /www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk