GKIPA Championship preview - Round 1724/02/2016
To download statistics from round 16, click here.
Doncaster Knights made another resounding statement in the Greene King IPA Championship a fortnight ago – now they must crack a Cornish Pirates side that have been extremely resilient at home.
Indeed, the Pirates have won three league games on the bounce at The Mennaye and will look to recover their form back in Cornwall after back-to-back losses on the road to London Scottish and Yorkshire Carnegie.
The Knights' own run, however, shows no signs of slowing down – now comfortably perched in second after their own success over Carnegie.
It says much about their mentality after Michael Hills barged over the line in the last moment of the game to clinch a bonus-point 34-28 victory.
But they still have some catching up to do with Bristol Rugby, who maintained a ten-point gap at the top after putting Ealing Trailfinders to the sword by 63-10 and face Carnegie next.
Bristol have won their last four encounters with the Yorkshiremen, but you can expect both teams to pile on the points – in that spell they've combined for a total of 254.
Carnegie are in third place just one point ahead of Bedford Blues, who head to a Rotherham Titansside set to embark on their first league fixture under new head coach Justin Burnell.
Burnell kicked off life at Rotherham with a 45-7 win in a rearranged British & Irish Cup fixture against Ealing, and now must arrest a seven-game losing slump in the Championship.
Bedford will be eyeing up a pick-me-up too after Jersey took away a superb victory from Goldington Road in Round 16.
With that result, Jersey cut the gap between themselves and the top four down to 11 points and will aim to pick up where they left off against London Welsh.
The Exiles however took a positive step forward of their own during the last round – following back-to-back defeats – as Josh McNally scored a try-double in a bonus-point victory over Nottingham.
Nottingham, still very much in the top four race in sixth, will aim to get back on the horse as they host London Scottish at The Bay.
And as far as Scottish are concerned, the result could make or break their season as they sit three further points behind the Green and Whites in seventh.
Last but by no means least, Moseley and Ealing take each other on in a match that is likely to go some way in deciding who will finish bottom this season.
Moseley are the team in form as a victory over Rotherham last time out – their first win in the Championship since November 6 – lifted them off last spot.
Kevin Maggs' side have won their last four games against Ealing in all competitions – but earlier this month, the Trailfinders upset the apple cart by holding Doncaster to a draw at home.
Round 17 fixtures
Saturday 27 February
Jersey v London Welsh, kick-off 2pm
Rotherham Titans v Bedford Blues, kick-off 2pm
Ealing Trailfinders v Moseley, kick-off 3pm
Sunday 28 February
Cornish Pirates v Doncaster Knights, kick-off 3pm
Nottingham v London Scottish, kick-off 3pm
Yorkshire Carnegie v Bristol Rugby, kick-off 3pm