As the first phase of the Greene King IPA Championship season
enters its final month, victory over fellow title hopefuls Leeds
Carnegie at Headingley on Sunday would go a long way to securing
Bristol Rugby top seed status.
The Championship leaders head north on 71 points with a
three-point advantage over London Welsh, who won their game in hand
against Cornish Pirates, 20-5, at the Mennaye Field on Sunday to
move on to 68 points for the season.
Leeds, who have not been beaten by Bristol at Headingley since
they returned to the second tier of English rugby, are third on 65
points with Rotherham four points further back in fourth.
Leeds beat Bristol at home, 21-17, in the pool stages of this
season's British & Irish Cup, before going down to the West
Country and winning in the league at the Memorial Stadium for the
first time in 11 years. Leeds won last season's corresponding
fixture in convincing fashion, the sides sharing 10 tries between
them in a 50-31 victory for the Yorkshire outfit.
There will be no shortage of drama elsewhere in Round 19, which
gets underway with a bottom-of-the-table clash between Ealing
Trailfinders and Jersey at Vallis Way on Friday night. Despite
trailing for the first 60 minutes of the match, two tries from wing
Phil Chesters and one from former Jersey full-back Andrew
Henderson, plus four conversions from Ben Ward, saw Ealing open
their account for the season with a 28-18 win when the sides met at
St Peter earlier in the season.
Jersey's hopes of staying in the Championship received a massive
boost on Saturday when 15 points from the boot of Aaron Penberthy
helped them to a 30-23 win over Plymouth Albion at Brickfields.
That victory - only their fifth of the season - has given them a
12-point cushion at the foot of the table.
Saturday's double bill sees Moseley take on London Scottish and
Rotherham Titans entertain Plymouth Albion. Moseley are on a
six-game winning run at home in all competitions, their last defeat
at Billesley Common coming against London Welsh on November 23.
Scottish won 25-20 on their last trip to the west Midlands, while
Moseley were undone by a Miles Mantella hat-trick in this season's
clash at the Athletic Ground, which ended in a 38-17 win for the
Rotherham Titans have won four games on the bounce against
Plymouth, the most recent coming at Brickfields in Round 10 when
they won 28-17. The outcome of that match could have been different
though had Albion not missed 16 points from the kicking tee. Not
since New Year's Day, 2011 have Plymouth returned home to Devon
from Clifton Lane with the spoils of victory
As well as the eagerly anticipated match-up between the division's
two highest try scoring sides, Leeds (66 tries) and Bristol (82),
there are two other games to look forward to on Sunday: London
Welsh v Bedford Blues and Cornish Pirates v Nottingham Rugby.
Bedford became the first side to beat London Welsh this season
when they won a nail-biting game at Goldington Road back in
November, 28-26. Welsh would have snatched a share of the spoils
had Alex Davies been able to convert Kevin Davis' try from the
touchline with the last kick of the game.
Nottingham's game with Cornish Pirates at Meadow Lane did finish
with honours even, a last minute kick from Matthew Jarvis saving
the Green & Whites from defeat. Of the last 11 meetings between
the sides Nottingham have won only one.
Round 19 fixtures
Friday March 21
Ealing Trailfinders v Jersey, KO 19:45
Saturday March 22
Moseley v London Scottish, KO 15:00
Rotherham Titans v Plymouth Albion, KO 15:00
Sunday March 23
Cornish Pirates v Nottingham Rugby, KO 15:00
Leeds Carnegie v Bristol Rugby, KO 15:00
London Welsh v Bedford Blues, KO 14:30
21 Sep 2023
Chiefs visit Stade for first-ever Jersey encounter