Bristol Rugby and Worcester Warriors are now mathematically
certain a home semi-final in the end-of-season play-offs as neither
of the top two can be caught by either third-placed London Scottish
or any of the other play-off contenders.
In the unlikely event that Scottish pick up a bonus-point win at
Worcester this weekend and play-off rivals Nottingham and Rotherham
fail to record victories, the Exiles would also be guaranteed their
place in the top four with three rounds to spare.
The race for the fourth and final play-off spot looks like going
right down to the wire though. As many as four teams still harbour
realistic hopes of extending their season beyond the end of April,
with Nottingham Rugby, on 46 points, currently in the driving
Pirates, who are the furthest adrift of the quartet on 39 points,
would appear to have it all to do with two tough away trips to come
against Jersey and Yorkshire Carnegie - either side of a visit from
high-flying Worcester - following this weekend's derby against
The chase for the top 4 - remaining games
|Nottingham Rugby (46 pts)||Rotherham Titans (44 pts)||Yorkshire Carnegie (40 pts)||Cornish Pirates (39 pts)|
|Doncaster Knights (A)||Moseley (A)||Jersey (H)||Plymouth Albion (H)|
|London Scottish (A)||Doncaster Knights (H)||Worcester Warriors (A)||Jersey (A)|
|Rotherham Titans (H)||Nottingham Rugby (A)||London Scottish (H)||Worcester Warriors (H)|
|Bedford Blues (A)||London Scottish (H)||Cornish Pirates (H)||Yorkshire Carnegie (A)|
At the bottom of the table, Doncaster should be able to prepare
for another season in the Championship after securing two points
from a 13-13 draw at London Scottish in round 18.
There is now an 11-point buffer between themselves and bottom club
Plymouth, who are five points adrift of 11th-placed Moseley.
Moseley play Plymouth at Billesley Common in a likely relegation
decider on the penultimate weekend of the season.
Moseley v Rotherham Titans, Friday 27 March, kick-off
Moseley ended a seven-game losing run to the Titans when they won
26-22 at Clifton Lane on Boxing Day. Rotherham were their own worst
enemies that day, ill-discipline resulting in them losing three men
to the sin-bin in nine second-half minutes. Since then, Moseley
have only won once in eight league outings to drop perilously close
to the bottom of the table while Rotherham are still in play-off
contention despite an inconsistent set of results. Rotherham have
won on their last four visits to Billesley Common.
Referee: Andrew Small
Bristol Rugby v Bedford Blues, Sunday 29 March, kick-off
A quick-fire brace of tries from Chris Brooker saw Bristol
overturn a 17-7 half-time deficit and win 28-24 when these sides
met at Goldington Road on Boxing Day. Bedford go into the game on
the back of four straight defeats and have not beaten GKIPA
Championship leaders Bristol since recording a 39-22 victory
against them at Goldington Road on Boxing Day in 2011.
Referee: Steve Lee
Cornish Pirates v Plymouth Albion, Sunday 29 March,
Pirates lost to Yorkshire outfits Doncaster and Rotherham in their
last two outings at the Mennaye Field, and will be determined to
avoid a hat-trick of home defeats when local rivals Plymouth come
to town. A brace of tries from flanker Joe Atkinson and one apiece
for Alex Dancer and Max Bodilly earned Pirates maximum points in
this season's now annual festive fixture against Albion. That 27-19
victory extended the Pirates' unbeaten run against Albion to 12
matches. Plymouth's last win in the fixture was on 3 October, 2009,
when they won 16-8 at Brickfields.
Referee: Dean Richards
Yorkshire Carnegie v Jersey, Sunday 29 March, kick-off
Bryan Redpath began his reign as Carnegie head coach with an
impressive win at Plymouth, and the former Scotland international
will be hoping his honeymoon period continues for at least another
week against Jersey. A penalty try and one from Chris Walker and
seven points from the boot of Harry Leonard earned Carnegie a
hard-fought 17-13 win in the first encounter at St Peter. Carnegie
have never lost to Jersey at Headingley and are on a three-game
winning run at home. But Jersey will travel to Leeds in confident
mood after becoming the first side to beat Worcester since Bristol
on the opening day.
Referee: Andrew Jackson
Doncaster Knights v Nottingham Rugby, Saturday 28 March,
The Green & Whites moved into the play-off places for the
first time since April 2013 when they beat the Knights 24-3 in late
December. Nottingham have an impressive head-to-head record against
the Knights, winning eight of the last 10 meetings in all
competitions. Doncaster's last league win over Nottingham was a
46-42 victory at Castle Park on 2 October, 2010. With 392 points
conceded, Doncaster have the fifth best defensive record in the
Referee: Ian Tempest
Worcester Warriors v London Scottish, Saturday 28 March,
Warriors won the first-ever league fixture between these sides,
34-19, on 20 December, 2014. Sam Smith and Mark Bright bagged a
brace of tries for their respective sides that day, but Scottish
No.8 Bright continues to lead the way in the division's try scoring
charts with 21. Worcester's record 24-game winning streak came to
an end when they were beaten by Jersey in round 18.
Referee: Greg Macdonald
Why not get yourself a Hot Pot (Curry or Chilli served with rice) in the supporters marquee £8 per pot.