Weekend rugby preview

21/02/2013

Weekend rugby preview: Championship, B&I Cup, JRA, Women's Nat Ch'ship, and all that jazz...

JRA Rugby
More than a week of dry weather - and just a few snow flurries expected on Saturday - means local players can look forward confidently to some rugby action on the lawns of St Peter.

It's the Plate section of the Doug Tranter competition this weekend, and Wanderers will play Banks Vets in one semi-final (pitch 2), while HMP Panthers take on Beeches in the other half of the draw (pitch 4). Both games kick-off at 12noon on Saturday.

Women's National Championship South-East, South Division One
The double-header above is actually a treble-header, as Jersey United Banks Ladies, currently sixth of the eight teams in SES1 have a league match against fourth-placed Bracknell at Grainville, also at 12noon on Saturday.

RBS 6 Nations

Rbs 6nations

The early starts for local players will enable all interested parties to warm up in the JRFC clubhouse with a couple of pints and post-match meal of fish 'n' chips. It'll soon be time to focus on the big screens for:
Italy v Wales (2.30pm). One side started the tournament with a bang and tailed off; the other had a terrible start and has actually performed half-decently for the last 1.5 games. The bookees have Wales as favourites with handicaps of eight or nine points to the hosts on most books.
England v France (5pm). The top-of-the-table English will be wary of a French side for whom the only way is up following a horrible start to the 6N.
All are welcome at the clubhouse to watch the games, and if you'd like to partake of fish 'n' chips, just turn up between 2 and 3pm with a modest amount of cash (exact price TBA) and a good appetite.
[The 6N also has a Sunday game this weekend, with Scotland v Ireland at Murrayfield, KO at 2pm.]

RFU Championship/ British & Irish Cup
No action for Jersey this weekend, but there are four games on the radar:

Friday, 7.45pm - Bristol v Cardiff (B&I Pool 1)
Bristol need a win to secure top-spot in the pool, ensuring a home quarter-final against an Irish side (identity tbc). Should the home side fail to take at least two points in the final game before Andy Robinson takes up his post as DoR, Ulster 'A' will have the chance to qualify in their final game against Bridgend in March.

Saturday, 2.30pm - Rotherham v Aberavon (B&I Pool 7)
The Titans had high hopes of qualifying after battling to a 9-9 draw against Munster 'A' in December, but the Irish side recovered to seal top-spot and render this tie in dead rubber, albeit one that the home side wanted to honour. With three wins and that draw from five games, Roth might hope to run up a high score against their Welsh visitors who have just three losing BPs from their five outings.

Saturday, 7pm - Newcastle v Cornish Pirates (RFU Championship)
High-flying Newcastle have been fretting about the promotion play-offs all season, realising that there was a potential booby-trap to a campaign in which they have defeated all-comers and racked up a massive lead in the regular season rankings. This rearranged match offers the home side the chance to mathematically guarantee their play-off spot, even if in reality this has been assured for some time. Pirates know the Falcons have had a few wobbles in the past two months, and will travel in hope that they could be the ones to finally derail, temporarily at least, the Richards revolution at the 16th time of asking.

Sunday, 2.15pm - Nottingham v Llandovery (B&I Pool 8)
Notts lost their first two games in this years B&I, but have recovered to give themselves a realistic chance of qualifying against the team from the far reaches of south-west Wales. True, the Drovers are five points ahead, but their points difference is only slightly superior, so if the home team can score four tries, deny their visitors a BP and win by 10 points or more, they will sneak pool 8 and earn themselves a trip to Newcastle in the Q-Fs.

Outstanding B&I games - update
While the organising committee have said that it is not essential that dead rubbers are played, the practical advice seems to be that clubs are being encouraged that it is, at least, good form to fulfil one's obligations. As a result, Rotherham are playing Aberavon (see above), while Jersey have confirmed a trip to Sardis Road to play Pontypridd on Friday April 5th in a 'better late than never' production.
Of the other games, Bridgend v Ulster in Pool 1 looks likely to be staged only if the Irish retain their chance of qualifying, while Connacht 'A' v Newport in Pool 4 has been, officially, cancelled due to lack of interest.

And Finally...
Nearly forgot the Gales Hampshire Cup: good luck to LQ Lydian Lions from Jersey as they prepare to travel to the neutral turf of Trojans RFC on Sunday for a semi-final tie against Portsmouth (k-o 2.15pm). No Jersey side has ever won the Hants Cup, so if that doesn't spur 'em on...

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