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News 2014-15

GKIPA Championship preview – Round 14

04/02/2015

Plymouth's improved fortunes on and off the pitch have thrown
the Greene King IPA Championship relegation battle wide open
heading into round 14. Albion celebrated being saved from going
into administration with a 22-8 home win against Rotherham at
Brickfields.

The victory, only their second of the season, puts them on 14
points - just three behind Doncaster, who put up a great fight away
to Worcester before losing 25-5, and four in arrears of
Moseley.

History suggests that four more wins would be more than enough to
preserve Albion's Championship status for another season. Ealing,
with 28 (in a 23-game regular season), recorded the highest points
tally of any relegated side in the last four seasons of
Championship rugby when they finished bottom in 2013/14, while in
previous years Doncaster and Esher went down with 23 points to
their name and Birmingham & Solihull with 22.

Worcester's hard-earned bonus-point win against the Knights
combined with Bristol's first defeat of the season away to Cornish
Pirates sees the Warriors take over at the top of the division.
Bristol scored six tries but shipped five as they were beaten for
the first time since they lost last season's Championship play-off
final against London Welsh. The 45-28 loss continued Bristol's
losing record at the Mennaye Field. They have lost their last seven
games at the Penzance venue, with their last win coming in
2004.

Pirates moved up a place to sixth as a result of the victory, three
points clear of Bedford, Jersey and Yorkshire Carnegie, who are all
tied on 26 points. Rotherham, in fifth on 32 points, are now within
their sights but a play-off challenge still looks beyond both teams
even though Nottingham, on 40 points, slipped to a narrow defeat at
Jersey. Meanwhile, London Scottish cemented their place in the top
four with an impressive bonus-point win away to Bedford.

Bedford Blues v Plymouth Albion, Saturday, 7 February,
kick-off 3pm

Blues sealed a bonus-point win with the last play of the game when
the sides met at Brickfields back in September. Albion won 33-18 on
their last visit to Goldington Road in last season's corresponding
fixture - their first win there since the 2009/10 campaign. The
visitors are coached by former Blue James Shanahan.

Doncaster Knights v Yorkshire Carnegie, Saturday, 7
February, kick-off 2.30pm

Castle Park is not a happy hunting ground for Carnegie, who have
lost three and drawn one of their last four fixtures there. The
Leeds-based side's last victory on Doncaster soil was on 17
February, 2007, when current England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster
was in charge. The Knights beat Carnegie 32-23 in round four.

London Scottish v Bristol Rugby, Saturday, 7 February,
kick-off 3pm

All seven Championship meetings have gone the way of Bristol since
London Scottish were promoted back to this level in 2011. Bristol
beat an injury-ravaged Exiles side 42-17 in the Ashton Gate
fixture, scoring six tries in the process.

Moseley v Cornish Pirates, Saturday, 7 February. kick-off
3pm

Moseley's 28-20 win at Billesley Common in February last year ended
a run of three straight draws in the fixture. Two tries from Tom
Kessell helped Pirates maintain their unbeaten home record against
Moseley in the Championship when the sides met at the Mennaye Field
at the end of September. Pirates won 29-19.

Rotherham Titans v Jersey, Saturday, 7 February, kick-off
2pm

James McKinney's 'full house' of a try, two conversions, a drop
goal and a penalty ensured Rotherham prevailed by 32-29 when they
travelled to St Peter earlier in the season. Titans have won four
out of five matches against Jersey since the island side were
promoted to this level.

Nottingham Rugby v Worcester Warriors, Sunday, 8 February,
kick-off 3pm

Tom Biggs was the hat-trick hero when Worcester ran out 55-16
winners at Sixways earlier this season. The Warriors' previous
visit to Nottingham, in 2010/11, ended in a 38-24 victory at Meadow
Lane. Of the 14 tries Nottingham have conceded at home this season
10 have come in the first half.

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