The race for the final play-off spot comes to a head at Lady Bay
on Friday night when fifth-placed Nottingham Rugby take on
Rotherham Titans, who currently occupy the coveted fourth spot in
the league table. The Titans' 26-25 win over South Yorkshire rivals
Doncaster in round 20 has elevated them above the Green &
Whites who fell to a 34-29 defeat at London Scottish. Scottish
confirmed their place in the play-offs - alongside Bristol Rugby
and Worcester Warriors - with the win. Rotherham could book their
place in the play-offs for the second consecutive season on Friday
night if they claim all five points and prevent Nottingham taking
anything from the contest.
The battle to avoid relegation is a straight shootout between
bottom club Plymouth Albion and Moseley. Neither side picked up any
points last weekend, meaning Albion still have a seven-point
deficit to make up on their rivals. Realistically, Albion need to
take four more competition points from Saturday's match than their
opponents to give themselves any chance of survival going into the
final weekend when they host Doncaster and Moseley travel to
Bristol Rugby v Jersey RFC, Friday April 17, kick-off
Jersey have managed just three away wins in all competitions this
season, and were beaten 54-14 when they last travelled to Bristol
in February 2014. Jersey's home form has been much more impressive
though, with the Islanders only losing once in five matches since
Bristol left St Peter back in January with all five points from a
27-17 win. Leading 17-15 with seven minutes to go, Jersey looked on
course to take the scalp of the league leaders, but Marco Mama's
second try and a last-gasp score from Nicky Robinson helped the
West Country side to victory.
Nottingham Rugby v Rotherham Titans, Friday April 17,
Rotherham haven't lost on Nottingham soil in the league since 25
January, 2011, when the Green & Whites prevailed by 37-8. The
Titans scored four tries in each half on their last visit, winger
Curtis Wilson grabbing a hat-trick in a 51-7 rout. Brent Wilson
celebrated his 50th league game as captain by scoring one of
Nottingham's three tries when they won 28-19 at Clifton Lane
earlier this year. The Titans have won four out of their
last five games, scoring 18 tries along the way, while the return
to fitness of influential fly-half Dan Mugford from a broken leg
comes as a timely boost to Nottingham's play-off push.
Doncaster Knights v Bedford Blues, Saturday April 18,
Doncaster prevailed by 36-20 when the sides met at Castle Park in
the pool stages of this season's British & Irish Cup. However
the first league encounter went the way of the Blues, 35-29, after
the Knights threw away a 23-9 half-time lead. A win for Doncaster
would see the Knights leapfrog the Blues into 9th place.
Moseley v Plymouth Albion, Saturday April 18, kick-off
Plymouth's 19-18 victory over Moseley back in January was their
first win of any description in the league for 10 months. Even then
fly-half Sam Olver had the chance to win the match for the Red
& Blacks in stoppage time but his long-range penalty attempt
fell short. Matches between Moseley and Plymouth Albion are
typically tight affairs. Only once in the last 10 meetings has the
winning margin been more than eight points. Albion lost 16-11 at
Billesley Common on the final day of the 2013/14 campaign.
Cornish Pirates v Worcester Warriors, Saturday April 18,
Worcester return to the Mennaye Field for the first time since
they won 21-12 in the first leg of the 2010/11 Championship
play-off final. The Warriors went on to clinch promotion that year
with victory in the return leg and have not been back to the Duchy
since. Tom Biggs scored a hat-trick to help Worcester overpower the
Pirates 62-26 at Sixways.
Yorkshire Carnegie v London Scottish, Sunday April 19,
Scottish have lost on all three previous trips north to Headingley
where Carnegie are proving a lot harder to beat than in the first
half of the season. Having waited five months to secure their first
home win, Carnegie are now on a four-game winning streak at their
HQ with Moseley, Nottingham, Bedford and Jersey all beaten.
Scottish scored all of their points in the second half when they
defeated Carnegie 26-22 at The Athletic Ground.
29 Sep 2023
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