Greene King IPA Championship Round 5 preview
The Greene King IPA Championship resumes after a two-week break for the British & Irish Cup with a Friday night fixture between London Scottish and Rotherham Titans.
Front-rowers, Jamie Kilbane and Ted Stagg, and outside backs Peter Homan and Mike Doneghan could all be in line to face their former club after moving to the Athletic Ground from the Titans in the summer. Centre P J Gidlow is another ex-Titan in the Scottish ranks. Over the years these sides have played each other eight times, with Scottish winning five to Rotherham's three. Last season, the home side won on each occasion, although both matches were closely-fought affairs where the visiting side picked up the consolation of a losing bonus point
Jersey v Plymouth Albion at St Peter, kick off 14:30pm, is the first of three fixtures to take place on Saturday. Jersey will be looking for revenge after losing to Albion in the 'Greene King IPA Big Rugby Weekend' double-header on the opening Sunday of the season at Sandy Park. Jersey appeared to be all set for victory after establishing an eight-point lead early in the second half only to concede four tries in the final 25 minutes to lose 41-27. Jersey won home and away last season – the only time they managed the 'double' in their maiden Championship campaign. Ben Harvey's men won 16-14 in the corresponding fixture and 19-15 at Brickfields.
Half-an-hour later Moseley and Leeds Carnegie do battle at Billesley Common – a venue where Leeds have never lost. Leeds are currently on an 11-match winning run in the league against the Birmingham-based side, their last defeat coming at The Reddings on September 12, 1998. Moseley, though, did upset the odds to record a memorable 23-18 victory at Twickenham in the final of the 2009 EDF Energy Trophy.
At Saturday tea-time the Kassam Stadium in Oxford stages a repeat of the 2012 Championship final between London Welsh and Cornish Pirates, kick-off 18:30. Almost eighteen months ago, Welsh claimed the title - and promotion to the Premiership – after beating Pirates on an aggregate score of 66-41 over the two legs.
Sunday's double-header includes a live game on Sky Sports 4 & Sky Sports 4HD between two sides yet to win in the league: Bedford Blues v Ealing Trailfinders. Bedford, though, will no doubt be buoyed by their British & Irish Cup win over Llanelli at the weekend, surprisingly their first win of any kind this term.
The remaining game of the weekend takes place at the Memorial Stadium between in-form Bristol and struggling Nottingham. Nottingham did the double over Bristol last season, including a record 63-7 victory at Meadow Lane and a 23-19 win down in the West Country. Of the 14 matches played since Bristol were demoted to this level four years ago, Bristol have won eight to Nottingham's five and there has been one draw.
Round 5 fixtures
Friday October 26
London Scottish v Rotherham Titans, KO 19:30
Saturday October 27
Jersey v Plymouth Albion, KO 14:30
Moseley v Leeds Carnegie, KO 15.00
London Welsh v Cornish Pirates, KO 18:30
Sunday October 28
Bedford Blues v Ealing Trailfinders, KO 15:15. Live on Sky Sports in the Titans Bar
Bristol Rugby v Nottingham Rugby, KO 15:15