British & Irish Cup Round 609/12/2014
Bristol, Rotherham, Worcester, Doncaster and defending B&I
champions Leinster 'A' have all qualified for the quarter-finals of
the British & Irish Cup as winners of their respective pools
with a round to spare.
The Greene King IPA Championship quartet are unbeaten after five rounds of action and are on course for a home draw in the quarter-finals, while Leinster, who are bidding for a hat-trick of titles, are set to be on their travels in the last eight unless they can improve their position this weekend and qualify for the knockout stages as one of the top four seeds.
Eight sides still have a mathematical chance of grabbing one of the three quarter-final spots available to the best runners-up. Yorkshire Carnegie are currently in the driving seat with 18 points, Pontypridd have 15 and Munster 'A' and Cornish Pirates, who met in the inaugural B&I Cup final in 2009, are both on 14. Bedford, Moseley, Carmarthen Quins and Jersey have slim mathematical chances of maintaining their interest beyond the weekend.
The British & Irish Cup tables can beaccessed HERE
All Round 6 matches kick off at 2pm on
Connacht Eagles v Bristol
Top plays bottom as pool leaders Bristol go in search of the win they need to be certain of a home quarter-final. Bristol extended their winning run to 13 matches with a 22-14 victory over London Scottish in Round 5. Bristol outscored Connacht eight tries to four in front of a record B&I Cup crowd when the sides met in Round 1. Olly Robinson, son of head coach Andy, scored a hat-trick on his competitive debut for the club.
London Scottish v Pontypridd
Pontypridd's destiny remains in their own hands with the Welsh Premiership side knowing that a bonus-point win at the Athletic Ground would guarantee them one of the best runners-up spots. Pontypridd won the first match with London Scottish 23-17.
Rotherham Titans v Yorkshire Carnegie
Yorkshire Carnegie need two points from Saturday's trip to Clifton Lane to be mathematically certain of their place in the last eight as one of the three best runners-up. If Carnegie head back up the M1 empty-handed they will have to hope that at least one of their main rivals, Pontypridd, Munster and Cornish Pirates fails to win. Titans kept Carnegie try less in both previous meetings this season: 6-0 at Headingley in the Championship and 20-3 at Silver Royd, Scarborough RUFC in the B&I Cup.
Ulster Ravens v Aberavon
Aberavon's losing run was extended to eight games with Saturday's 42-14 home defeat to Rotherham. The Wizards have not won in any competition since they beat Ulster 18-14 at The Talbot Athletic Ground on October 11. Ulster are winless and will exit the competition at the end of the pool stages for the third year in a row.
Moseley v Munster 'A'
A first bonus-point win of the season would guarantee Munster a place in the last eight regardless of how Cornish Pirates fare at Bedford. Tries have been hard to come by for Munster to date with just 10 in five matches. They beat Moseley 27-21 at Clonmel in Round 1.
Worcester Warriors v Nottingham
Worcester are certain of a home tie in the knockout stages if they beat Nottingham for the third time this season. The Warriors won 55-16 when the sides met in the league at Sixways at the end of September and they prevailed 26-19 in the cup three weeks later at Meadow Lane.
Bedford Blues v Cornish Pirates
Last Saturday's agonising 31-30 defeat at home to Doncaster has left Cornish Pirates' hopes of making it out of Pool 4 hanging by a thread. Realistically the Pirates need to win at Bedford for the first time since March 2011 - and hope Munster and Pontypridd fail to beat Moseley and London Scottish respectively - to qualify for the last eight for the fifth time in their history. The first B&I Cup tie at the Mennaye Field was a real humdinger with Pirates winning 35-34. However the B&I Cup Organising Committee overturned the result after Pirates wrongly introduced an additional player to the fray when the game had already gone to uncontested scrums.
Doncaster Knights v Cross Keys
Seven of the 10 matches played in Pool 4 have resulted in a winning margin of five points or less, and Cross Keys, while bottom of the pool, have more than held their own this season. Their two previous away trips to Championship clubs have ended in a one-point win (v Bedford) and a one-point loss (v Cornish Pirates). Doncaster won 37-32 at Pandy Park in round one.
Carmarthen Quins v Jersey
The winners of this tie can still go through as one of the best runners-up, although Jersey, who cannot match the points tallies of the runners-up in pools 2 (Yorkshire Carnegie) or 4 (Pirates or Bedford), require an extremely unlikely sequence of results to progress: five points in Wales; Ponty to get nothing at London Scottish; and a Moseley win over Munster. Then, and only then, there could be a points-difference tie-breaker - but it's a very long-shot. Jersey are on a four-game losing streak, but won with a bonus point when the sides met back in October.
Leinster 'A' v Plymouth Albion
To qualify as one of the top four seeds Leinster 'A' need to pick up maximum points against Plymouth and hope that Bristol and Worcester fail to make it six wins on the spin. Leinster prevailed 31-24 when the sides met at Brickfields in Round 1.