GKIPA Championship - Round 13 Preview20/01/2014
The Greene King IPA Championship returns after a fortnight's
break with Sunday's top-of-the-table clash between league leaders
London Welsh and third-placed Leeds Carnegie at the Kassam Stadium
taking star billing. Carnegie travel south to Oxford in great
shape, having made it through to the quarter-finals of the British
& Irish Cup after a 24-19 victory over Bristol -
their eighth win in a row.
It is a record matched by fellow B&I Cup quarter-finalists and Yorkshire rivals, Rotherham Titans, who reached the knockout stages of the B&I Cup for the first time with a 32-24 success at Bedford Blues. The Titans' fine run of form has taken them to second in the table with a trip to Jersey to come this Saturday. Jersey won last season's corresponding fixture 13-10.
Bristol will fancy their chances of consolidating their place in the top four if their head-to-head record against Sunday's opponents Plymouth Albion is anything to go by. Bristol have won the last 12 matches against the Devon side and have only lost once at home all season.
Fifth plays sixth at the Athletic Ground on Saturday, with London Scottish and Cornish Pirates both needing to win to stay in touch with the top four. Two tries from scrum-half Tom Kessell helped Pirates record a 16-8 victory at the Mennaye Field earlier this season. Both of the previous Championship clashes at the Athletic Ground have been tight affairs, with Scottish winning 25-24 in 2012/13 and Pirates 25-23 the year before.
A place in the Championship final was at stake the last time Bedford Blues and Nottingham met at Goldington Road. Neither side are currently in contention for the top four this time around as the Blues, who went on to play Newcastle in last year's final, find themselves in 7th place, four points ahead of Nottingham in 10th. Nottingham won 26-24 on home soil earlier this season.
Two rapidly-improving sides meet at the foot of the table on Saturday when Moseley take on Ealing Trailfinders at Billesley Common. Moseley have won their last three games at home in league and cup and are 10 points better off than Ealing, who, despite propping up the division, have taken nine points from their last two Championship away games.
Round 13 fixtures
Saturday January 25
Bedford Blues v Nottingham Rugby, KO 15:00
Jersey v Rotherham Titans, KO 15:00
London Scottish v Cornish Pirates, KO 15:00
Moseley v Ealing Trailfinders, KO 15:00
Sunday January 26
London Welsh v Leeds Carnegie, KO 14:30
Bristol Rugby v Plymouth Albion, KO 15:00