Greene King IPA Championship Round 14 preview
Nottingham Rugby and London Scottish have the honour of getting Round 14 of the Greene King IPA Championship underway when they meet at Meadow Lane on Friday night.
Third-placed Scottish have an impressive record on the road this season having won away six times in all competitions. Nottingham, who have not won in the league since mid-November and currently occupy 10th place, will be well aware of the threat posed by the Championship's top try-scorer Miles Mantella, the former Harlequins speedster having scored a hat-trick in a 27-6 win for Scottish when the sides last met back in September.
Rotherham Titans made it nine wins on the bounce with a 35-22 victory over Jersey in St Peter, a result that also temporarily took them to the top of the Championship table until being supplanted by London Welsh who beat Leeds Carnegie on Sunday. Rotherham and Moseley are familiar league foes having played each other a total of 30 times, the Titans winning 22 and scoring over 1,000 points in the process. Saturday's clash will be their third meeting this season, the Titans having won 42-24 at Castle Park on the opening day and 47-21 a fortnight later at Billesley Common.
It was third plays second when Plymouth Albion and London Welsh last met with the season only two weeks old. After a tight first half, Albion lost two men to the sin bin and Welsh took advantage to pull away and win 40-9, Gordon Ross converting all four of their tries and kicking four penalties for a 20-point haul. Four months on, as they prepare to play the return fixture at Brickfields, Welsh are on top of the Championship table and Albion are back in 9th.
Sunday's fixture list sees play-off contenders Bristol Rugby, Cornish Pirates and Leeds Carnegie all at home to sides below them in the table. Pirates play host to bottom-of-the-table Ealing Trailfinders, whose recent good run of results came to an end with a 22-12 defeat at Moseley. Two tries from wing Kieran Goss helped Pirates to a 31-17 win when they visited Vallis Way earlier this season.
Bristol host a Jersey side who have picked up two points from a possible 25 since they last tasted victory in the league – a 27-25 win against Cornish Pirates in mid-November. A three-try blitz accounted for Jersey when the sides met in St Peter, early tries from Ruki Tipuna and Tristan Roberts (2) - and a later effort from Ryan Edwards - setting them on their way to a 26-17 bonus-point win.
Leeds Carnegie take on Bedford Blues at Headingley for the first time in two years. Last year's 'on the road' game at Otley was called off by referee Ian Tempest with just over an hour gone due to a frozen surface. The Blues led 45-25 at the time and the result stood. Nineteen points from the boot of Alex Lozowski and tries from Jonah Holmes and Stevie McColl saw Leeds secure an impressive win at Goldington Road in Round 3.
Round 14 fixtures
Friday January 31
Nottingham Rugby v London Scottish, KO 20:00
Saturday February 1
Rotherham Titans v Moseley, KO 14:00
Plymouth Albion v London Welsh, KO 15:00
Sunday February 2
Cornish Pirates v Ealing Trailfinders, KO 14:00
Bristol Rugby v Jersey, KO 15:00
Leeds Carnegie v Bedford Blues, KO 15:00