GKIPA Championship preview - Round 15


Worcester can confirm their place in the end-of-season play-offs with seven rounds of the regular season to go if they beat fifth-placed Rotherham with a bonus point on Saturday - and ensure the Titans leave Sixways empty-handed, and Bedford fail to beat Jersey away.

Cornish Pirates would need to win each of their remaining eight games with a bonus point and rely on the unlikely event of Worcester going pointless from now until the end of the season to have any hope of catching them.

Another maximum five-point return would not only secure their place in the top four it would also keep alive the Warriors' hopes of breaking their own competition points total record for a regular GKIPA Championship season.

Sunday's 58-3 win at Nottingham puts Dean Ryan's table-toppers on 65 points, two ahead of Bristol, meaning they would need to claim 37 of the 40 points available from the final eight rounds of fixtures to beat the 101 points they amassed in winning the 2010/11 title.

Bristol's best return in finishing top was the 96 points they managed in last season's 23-game campaign. Their best tally over a 22-game season is 92, set in the first season of Championship rugby in 2009/10.

Worcester Warriors (1st) v Rotherham Titans (5th), Saturday 14 February, kick-off 12.35pm
Up until Worcester's initial promotion to the Premiership in 2003 Rotherham held the upper hand in fixtures between the sides, winning all bar two of the nine games played in the old National One. Since then though the Warriors have reeled off three straight wins, the biggest margin of victory coming in this season's clash at Clifton Lane when the Warriors scored 37 unanswered points in the first half before going on to win 47-7.

Referee: Ian Tempest

Jersey (8th) v Bedford Blues (6th), Saturday 14 February, kick-off 3pm
Bedford and Jersey shared six tries when they met at Goldington Road in round 5, but it was the Blues who prevailed 25-20. Sixteen points from the boot of now departed Irish fly-half Niall O'Connor helped Jersey beat Bedford 26-14 in last season's corresponding fixture.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys

Plymouth Albion (12th) v London Scottish (3rd), Sunday 15 February, kick-off 3pm
Scottish scored 10 tries in an emphatic 64-16 win over Plymouth when the sides met back in October. No.8 Mark Bright grabbed two that day and now has 16 tries for the season, the highest in the division by some margin. Jamie Stevenson's late try proved the difference the last time Scottish visited Brickfields, the Exiles winning 22-20.

Referee: Matthew Carley

Bristol Rugby (2nd) v Moseley (10th), Sunday 15 February, kick-off 3pm
Bristol were convincing winners in the first match-up of the season at Billesley Common, scoring nine tries to win 59-14. Moseley's last win in Bristol was on 28 September, 2012, when, despite conceding three yellow cards, the red and blacks came away with a 22-21 victory.

Referee: Andrew Jackson

Cornish Pirates (7th) v Doncaster Knights (11th), Sunday 15 February, kick-off 3pm
This is the fourth meeting between the sides already this season, Doncaster having won both British & Irish Cup fixtures with Pirates triumphant in the league encounter at Castle Park. There was not much to choose between the sides in any of the games though, four points being the biggest winning margin.

Referee: Dean Richards

Yorkshire Carnegie (9th) v Nottingham Rugby (4th), Sunday 15 February, kick-off 3pm
Nottingham have lost on their last five visits to Headingley and travel north on the back of successive defeats against Jersey and Worcester. Carnegie, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 29-16 defeat at Doncaster which leaves them in ninth place in the table - five behind Nottingham, who won 26-20 when the sides met at Meadow Lane back in October. Surprisingly, Carnegie have scored more points (278 compared to 274) and conceded fewer (320/329) than the Green & Whites.

Referee: Greg Samuel Macdonald

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