GK IPA Championship preview - Round 714/10/2015
It is winner-takes-all at Ashton Gate on Sunday as the Greene King IPA Championship top two go head-to-head
Bristol and Yorkshire Carnegie have set a frantic pace in the early stages of the season, each picking up five wins from six, but it is the latter who lead the way.
With an extra bonus point to their name, Carnegie are top of the pile and they travel to the West Country off the back of a 27-20 victory over Doncaster Knights, after Josh Bainbridge grabbed a quick-fire try double after the break.
Their hosts, meanwhile, may have to improve on their showing last time out when newly-promoted Ealing Trailfinders ran them close, 26-21 – though that did extend their winning run to five.
And that clash also saw experienced fly-half Adrian Jarvis surpass Jason Strange as Bristol's all-time leading point-scorer.
At the other end of the table, Moseley are seeking to climb off the bottom and victory on Friday night will do exactly that.
The Midlands outfit have lost five on the bounce, since a 23-19 victory over London Scottish on the opening weekend of the season.
Their visitors – newly-promoted Ealing – have also collected just one win this season but they did take a losing bonus point off high-flying Bristol last time out.
That leaves them on eight points with Moseley on six and the victors at Billesley Common will finish the weekend off the bottom of the pile.
Jersey endured a slow start to the season but Harvey Biljon's side are cranking into gear and on Saturday they will go in search of a third straight win.
After picking up maximum points with a 34-27 triumph over Bedford Blues last weekend, the islanders host a London Welsh side looking to arrest a poor run.
The Exiles won three of their first four games back in the Greene King IPA Championship, but a 30-10 loss at Nottingham in round five was their second reversal on the spin.
Nottingham will take great confidence from that result, as tries from Heath Stevens, Ricky Andrew and Paul Grant led them to an impressive win.
But next up for them is a trip to third-placed London Scottish, who are looking to bounce back from a setback in the South West last weekend.
Scottish had stacked up four wins on the bounce before a clinical first-half display set Cornish Pirates on the way to a 21-17 triumph over the Exiles.
Conversely, Cornish Pirates had gone into that game on a four-match losing streak but tries from Rheon James and Craig Holland in the space of four minutes bucked that trend.
Standing between them and another four points are Doncaster Knights, who sit fifth in the table with three wins from their opening six games.
Indeed, they have won just one of their last three – against struggling Ealing – but the return of Fijian international hooker Vili Veikoso from the Rugby World Cup could be a timely boost.
And Bedford Blues are seeking to make it three wins from as many home games this season when Rotherham Titans come to town.
The Titans head into that clash off the back of a bonus-point 37-27 win against Moseley, after winger Ben Rath –making his first start for the club – grabbed the all-important fourth try in the dying stages.
However, they will have to succeed where both Moseley and Nottingham have failed this season in order to claim maximum points – toppling the Blues at Goldington Road.
Round 7 fixtures
Friday October 16
Moseley v Ealing Trailinders, kick-off 7.30pm
Bedford Blues v Rotherham Titans, kick-off 7.45pm
London Scottish v Nottingham Rugby, kick-off 7.45pm
Saturday October 17
Doncaster Knights v Cornish Pirates, kick-off 2pm
London Welsh v Jersey, kick-off 2pm
Sunday October 18
Bristol Rugby v Yorkshire Carnegie, kick-off 1.30pm
For statistics from Round 6, please click here.