British & Irish Cup Round 2 preview
Pool 1 pacesetters and defending B&I Cup champions Leinster 'A' will look to back up their comfortable bonus-point win over competition newcomers Ealing Trailfinders in round one with victory over Moseley at Billesley Common this Saturday afternoon.
Leinster made it a debut to forget for Championship strugglers Ealing, scoring seven tries on their way to a 49-8 success at Donnybrook. Saturday's round two fixture will be the first time Moseley have played an Irish opponent since Munster 'A' won 29-0 in Birmingham in December, 2011. Ealing begin their home campaign with a game against 2012 semi-finalists Cross Keys. Keys beat Moseley 20-16 thanks to a strong first-half showing.
In Pool 2, there were winning starts for London Scottish and Pontypridd over London Welsh and Edinburgh Academicals respectively. Miles Mantella took his overall tally of tries for the season in all competitions to seven with a brace in Scottish's opening day 32-26 success away to rivals London Welsh at Monks Lane, Newbury. Welsh Premiership champions Pontypridd rewarded a large away following with a 53-13 win over Accies at Raeburn Place. Accies now travel south to play London Scottish at the Athletic Ground, while in the other tie there is a return to Sardis Road for former Pontypridd back-row player and current London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell.
2011 runners-up Bedford are still awaiting their first win of any kind this season following a one-point loss at Rotherham in their opening Pool 3 clash. Blues entertain Llanelli on Saturday in a fixture that dates back 116 years. Since the first meeting in 1897, a 6-3 win for the Scarlets, the west Walians have won 11 times to Bedford's 4. Bedford have enjoyed the better times in recent years, though, losing just one of the last five fixtures. Llanelli go into the match in buoyant mood following a 76-14 rout of Connacht Eagles in round one. Connacht host Rotherham at the Sportsground, Galway.
Past winners Munster 'A' got off to the perfect start with a bonus-point win over Stirling to set them up nicely for Friday's tie against Nottingham at Meadow Lane. Nottingham lost 28-9 to Plymouth – their fourth defeat in a row. Munster, the only team to play in two finals, came away with the narrowest of victories the last time they faced Nottingham at Meadow Lane, winning 15-14 in January 2011 in front of a 3,000-strong crowd. Albion take on Stirling at Bridgehaugh Park.
An old rivalry will be restored when Aberavon and Bristol - the top two sides in Pool 5 - meet at the Talbot Athletic Ground on Saturday. Overall, 38 'friendly' games have been played between the clubs since the first meeting in 1896, with Bristol winning 22, Aberavon 10 and 6 games drawn. Aberavon won the last game: 41-20 on March 3rd, 1997.
A Wizards side packed with regional rugby experienced disposed of Gala, 31-17, in the Scottish Borders to kick their campaign off with a regulation win. That four-point return was matched by Bristol who needed a late try from Ben Glynn to defeat Championship rivals Leeds Carnegie 21-17 in wet conditions at the Memorial Ground. Leeds welcome Gala to Headingley Carnegie on Sunday.
Jersey started their British and Irish Cup campaign with a 28-16 victory over Ayr, who played large parts of the game with 13 men. The bonus-point win puts Jersey level with Cornish Pirates at the top of Pool Six with five points each from their opening game. Ulster Ravens and Ayr are both yet to get off the mark. The Ravens will be looking to get things back on track when they face a Jersey side containing ex Ulster fly-half, Niall O'Connor, at Ravenhill on Friday night. The following day inaugural B&I Cup winners Cornish Pirates make the 600-mile journey to play Ayr.
Round 1 results
Friday October 11
Plymouth Albion 28 Nottingham Rugby
Cornish Pirates 34 Ulster Ravens 17
Saturday October 12
Cross Keys 20 Moseley 16
Edinburgh Accies 13 Pontypridd 53
Gala 17 Aberavon 31
Jersey 28 Ayr 16
Leinster 'A' 49 Ealing Trailfinders 8
Llanelli 76 Connacht Eagles 14
London Welsh 26 London Scottish 32
Munster 'A' 39 Stirling 8
Rotherham Titans 12 Bedford Blues 11
Sunday October 13
Bristol Rugby 21 Leeds Carnegie 17
Round 2 fixtures
Friday October 18
Ulster Ravens v Jersey (KO 19:30)
Nottingham Rugby v Munster 'A' (KO 20:00)
Saturday October 19
Aberavon v Bristol Rugby (KO 14:30)
Ayr v Cornish Pirates (KO 15:00)
Bedford Blues v Llanelli (KO 15:00)
Connacht Eagles v Rotherham Titans (KO14:30)
Ealing Trailfinders v Cross Keys (15:00)
London Scottish v Edinburgh Academicals (KO 15:00)
Moseley v Leinster 'A', (KO 15:00)
Pontypridd v London Welsh (KO 14:30)
Stirling v Cornish Pirates (KO 15:00)
Sunday October 20
Leeds Carnegie v Gala (KO 14:30)