Worcester Warriors and Bristol Rugby confirmed their place in
the Greene King IPA Championship play-offs with seven rounds of the
regular season to go following victories over Rotherham Titans and
Moseley in round 15.
The top two are now 21 points clear of third-placed London Scottish
- and on the verge of securing a home semi-final - after the Exiles
were held to a 12-12 draw away to bottom club Plymouth Albion. Even
so, Scottish look certain of a place in the play-offs.
The race for the fourth and final spot is less clear cut, with
Nottingham and Rotherham's recent disappointing run of form giving
hope to the teams below them that all is not yet lost. Cornish
Pirates, Jersey, Bedford Blues and last year's beaten
semi-finalists Yorkshire Carnegie still have an outside chance of
keeping their season's alive beyond the end of April.
Doncaster meanwhile, gave their survival hopes a massive shot in
the arm with Sunday's tremendous 30-13 win at Cornish Pirates
seeing them leapfrog Moseley into 10th place. The Knights are now
10 points clear of danger with seven games to go. Moseley and
Plymouth, who meet at Billesley Common on April 18, are separated
by seven points.
Nottingham Rugby v Cornish Pirates, Friday 20 February,
Nottingham's 28-12 victory at the Mennaye Field back in November
was only their second win in 13 encounters against the Pirates. Two
first-half tries from Dan Mugford, followed by a second-half brace
from skipper and leading try scorer Brent Wilson earned them their
first win in the county since 2008.
Bedford Blues v Worcester Warriors, Saturday 21 February,
Worcester head to Goldington Road on the back of a club record
21-match winning sequence. The GKIPA Championship leaders reached
the new landmark after beating Rotherham 49-10 in Saturday's
televised encounter at Sixways. It took a late interception try
from Marcel Garvey for the Warriors to seal victory on their last
visit to the Blues' ground, on 16 October 2010. This season's
Sixways clash ended in a 42-12 win for the relegated Premiership
Doncaster Knights v Bristol Rugby, Saturday 21 February,
Doncaster are bidding to win three Championship matches in a row
for the first time since September/October 2011, having beaten
Yorkshire Carnegie and Cornish Pirates in their last two fixtures.
Bristol were made to work hard for their seventh straight win
against Doncaster when the sides met in round 6. The Knights led by
two points with 20 minutes to go before late tries from Dwayne Peel
and Olly Robinson saw Bristol prevail 24-12.
London Scottish v Moseley, Saturday 21 February, kick-off
Drew Cheshire's early second-half try proved the difference when
these sides met at Billesley Common back in November. Dual
registered Northampton fly-half Sam Olver kicked the remaining 11
points in a 16-9 win for the Red & Blacks. Last season's
corresponding league game finished in a 38-17 win for the Exiles,
Miles Mantella scoring a hat-trick for the hosts.
Plymouth Albion v Jersey, Saturday 21 February, kick-off
Brickfields is a happy hunting ground for Jersey who have notched
three wins from three there. Their most recent success came at the
end of October when a Tobias Hoskins try and 17 points from the
boot of Aaron Penberthy helped them to a 22-16 victory in the
Rotherham Titans v Yorkshire Carnegie, Saturday 21
February, kick-off 2pm
Rotherham have lost their last four home games in all competitions
to county rivals Carnegie - a run that stretches back to 11
September, 2011. If Rotherham were to prevail on Saturday each side
would have 11 wins apiece in the league head-to-head.
23 Mar 2023
January lessons show danger of banana skin in SW London