RFU Championship - Round 14 preview21/01/2013
Sky Sports viewers and those in attendance at Meadow Lane on Sunday should be in for a real treat as Nottingham and Bedford Blues - two of the Championship's most entertaining sides - go head-to-head.
Just two points separated the sides when they met at Goldington Road in Round 4, with the Blues winning by 27 points to 25. But Nottingham have kicked on since then to move into second place, level on points with the Blues but with a superior points difference.
Nottingham swapped places with the Blues after winning at Rotherham in the last round of fixtures - their first league win at Clifton Lane since 2007, while the Blues fell to a surprise defeat at London Scottish.
The Green & Whites' ability to score tries was no better demonstrated than in south Yorkshire, where they scored three times in the final seven minutes to overturn a 12-8 deficit and win 32-12.
A high-scoring affair is in prospect as both sides average nearly four tries per game in league rugby, while six of the last seven meetings have yielded an aggregate of 50 points or more per game.
While Nottingham v Bedford is a fitting finale to the next round of the Championship, three intriguing matches are scheduled to take place on Friday night.
Leeds Carnegie head to Bristol looking for their first win at the Memorial Stadium since a 17-12 success there in the 2002/03 Premiership campaign. Leeds thrashed Bristol 50-31 when the sides met earlier this season but Bristol won the corresponding game in 2011/12 by 33 points to 19.
Doncaster Knights could move off the bottom of the table if they beat London Scottish at home and Jersey lose to Rotherham the following day. But Scottish beat Doncaster 37-26, when the sides met back in September, and have hit a good run of form of late with their victory over Bedford preceded by a creditable point away to runaway leaders Newcastle.
The Falcons are also in action on Friday. Dean Richards' men are 16 points clear of Nottingham and they will look to extend their winning run in the league to 14 matches with victory over Cornish Pirates. Pirates, who are just out of the play-off zone, were the first side to deny the Falcons a try-scoring bonus point when they were beaten 25-3 in atrocious conditions at the Mennaye Field in Round 4.
Saturday's action features Jersey v Rotherham Titans and Plymouth Albion v Moseley. Titans' captain Garry Law was the star of the show when his side last played Jersey, contributing 29 points in an emphatic 54-31 victory at Clifton Lane. But Rotherham will be mindful that Jersey's home form has improved of late with three wins from their last four league games at St Peter.
Plymouth defend a four-game unbeaten home run against Moseley when the sides meet at Brickfields. Moseley's last success at the Devon ground came on January 2, 2011, when they won 20-10.
Round 14 fixtures
Friday, 25 January: Bristol Rugby Vs. Leeds Carnegie 19:45; Doncaster Knights Vs. London Scottish 19:45; Newcastle Falcons Vs. Cornish Pirates 20:00.
Saturday, 26 January: Jersey Vs. Rotherham Titans 15:00; Plymouth Albion Vs. Moseley 15:00.
Sunday, 27 January: Nottingham Vs. Bedford Blues 14:45.