Preview to opening round of B&I Cup
The British & Irish Cup returns with a vengeance for the 2015-16 season this weekend and Saturday is shaping up to be a particularly special day for Moseley hooker Adam Caves.
Caves is set to make his 300th Moseley appearance in their clash with Ealing Trailfinders after originally joining the club in the minis before progressing through the junior and colts system into the first team.
With both sides currently separated by just one place in the Greene King IPA Championship, a tight contest is on the cards and England’s 2003 World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson will also be Billesley Common on Saturday to open a new £3.6 million stand.
This year’s British & Irish Cup features all 12 Greene King IPA Championship outfits, ‘A’ teams for all four Irish provinces and four Welsh regional select sides.
The 20 teams are split into five pools of four with each pool winner, and the three best runners-up, progressing to the quarter-finals.
Last year’s final saw Worcester Warriors beat Doncaster Knights 35-3 at Castle Park and with Warriors now in the Premiership, Doncaster will be looking to go one better this time around.
They open up with a trip to Jersey – a team they beat 31-27 in the Greene King IPA Championship earlier this term. The Islanders open their Cup campaign on the back of an impressive 5-20 win against London Scottish last weekend. The other Pool 5 clash is a Celtic match-up between Connacht Eagles and Newport Gwent Dragons Premiership Select.
The weekend begins with a mouth-watering clash between Championship table-toppers Bristol and Ulster A underneath the Friday night lights at the Kingspan Stadium.
Meanwhile, the other Friday night clash also sees an English-Irish battle as London Scottish host Munster A.
Yorkshire Carnegie have made a flying start to the season and it could prove a very tricky game for Ospreys Premiership Select at Huddersfield YMCA RUFC if Josh Bainbridge is named in the team. The 19-year-old flanker, who has played for England U20s, was recently named as the GKIPA Championship Player of the Month following a string of impressive displays during October, including five tries in one game against Bristol.
Leinster A, twice winners of the B&I, reached the semi-finals last season and open up their Pool 1 campaign with a trip to Rotherham Titans while Cornish Pirates host London Welsh in an all-Championship clash.
The other Pool 4 match sees Nottingham travel west to take on Cardiff Blues Premiership Select on Saturday, while 24 hours later Scarlets Premiership Select host Bedford Blues.
Friday 13th November
19.30 Ulster A v Bristol (Pool 2)
19.45 London Scottish v Munster (Pool 3)
Saturday 14th November
14.00 Rotherham Titans v Leinster A (Pool 1)
14.30 Blues Select v Nottingham (Pool 4)
14.30 Connacht v Dragons Select (Pool 5)
14.30 Jersey v Doncaster Knights (Pool 5)
15.00 Pirates v London Welsh (Pool 4)
15.00 Moseley v Ealing Trailfinders (Pool 1)
Sunday 15th November
13.30 Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Select (Pool 3)
15.00 Scarlets Select v Bedford Blues (Pool 2)