Preview to round 3 of B&I Cup09/12/2015
After the drama of round 11 in the Greene King IPA Championship, table-toppers Bristol will aim to dethrone Bedford Blues from the top of Pool 2 in the British & Irish Cup when action resumes this weekend.
The Blues suffered a setback at home to high-flying Doncaster Knights last weekend but have won two from two in the B&I so far – while Bristol secured their first win last time out by beating Scarlets Premiership Select 62-16.
But when the teams met on Championship duty at Ashton Gate on the first weekend of the league season, Bedford stunned Bristol by emerging 29-23 winners.
Bedford's conquerors, Doncaster, are just two points behind Newport Gwent Dragons Premiership Select in Pool 5 – and face the Welsh region at Castle Park in a top-of-the-table clash.
London Welsh and Nottingham meet in another all-Championship tie after contrasting results in round 11.
Nottingham held on 14-13 as tries from Billy Robinson and Championship top try-scorer Paul Grant were enough to down Yorkshire Carnegie, while Cornish Pirates took away a superb 38-19 win from Old Deer Park over the Exiles.
This fixture is a must-win for Nottingham however, winless in their first two British & Irish Cup games, while London Welsh sit on six points behind the Pirates in Pool 4.
Cornish Pirates will look to build on last weekend's win – their fourth triumph in a row in all competitions – at Cardiff Blues Premiership Select.
Rotherham and Moseley are on the search for cheer back in the British & Irish Cup after defeats to London Scottish and Bristol respectively.
Sunday's winner at Billesley Common could catch leaders Leinster in Pool 1, with Rotherham sitting on six points and Moseley just behind in five.
Meanwhile, London Scottish have been supreme in the Cup so far, edging Munster A 27-25 before seeing off Ospreys Premiership Select, and could strengthen their grip in Pool 3 with victory at Yorkshire Carnegie.
The game will be played at Scarborough and Carnegie will be keen to arrest a recent run of form that has seen them lose four of their last five games in all competitions.
Elsewhere, Ealing Trailfinders will look to secure their first Cup victory of the season, but know that it will not come easy at Leinster A - the two sides met at Donnybrook in the 2013/14 tournament when the Londoners suffered a heavy defeat by 49-8.
Saving the best until last, Jersey, who beat the Trailfinders 35-7 at St Peter last weekend, also travel to Ireland to take on Connacht Eagles at the Sportsground in Galway. The Eagles are still searching for a win this season, while Jersey will be keen to make up ground on Pool 5 front-runners Dragons and Doncaster.
Round three fixtures
Friday December 11
Leinster A v Ealing Trailfinders, kick-off 7.30pm (Pool 1)
Munster A v Ospreys Premiership Select, kick-off 7.30pm (Pool 3)
Bristol Rugby v Bedford Blues, kick-off 7.45pm (Pool 2)
Saturday December 12
London Welsh v Nottingham Rugby, kick-off 1.30pm (Pool 4)
Connacht Eagles v Jersey, kick-off 2.30pm (Pool 5)
Doncaster Knights v Newport Gwent Dragons Premiership Select, kick-off 2.30pm (Pool 5)
Moseley v Rotherham Titans, kick-off 3pm (Pool 1)
Scarlets Premiership Select v Ulster 'A', kick-off 3pm (Pool 2)
Sunday December 13
Yorkshire Carnegie v London Scottish, kick-off 2.30pm (Pool 3)
Cardiff Blues Premiership Select v Cornish Pirates, kick-off 3pm (Pool 4)