RFU Championship Round 12 preview
Below is the RFU preview of the six Round 12 Championship fixtures around the Christmas period.
On Saturday Jersey begin the festive programme with a home game against Leeds Carnegie. Leeds won the corresponding fixture at Headingley, 32-19, but since then they have lost to the Channel Islands outfit in the British & Irish Cup. Bottom-of-the-table Jersey go into the game on the back of a five-game losing run, while Leeds have not won in their last three outings. Former Jersey star Dave Doherty is joint second in the league’s top try-scorer list with six.
Bristol enter into the second half of the Championship season on the back of a five-game winning run. Last season’s table-toppers have bounced back in fine style from their 63-7 hammering at hands of Nottingham in early November, recording league wins over Jersey, Plymouth and London Scottish and back-to-back British & Irish Cup successes over Bridgend. Liam Middleton’s men will be fancied to keep the winning run going on Sunday at home to second from bottom Doncaster, who they beat 18-9 in Round 2.
Newcastle entertain London Scottish at Kingston Park on Sunday as they look to extend their winning run in the Championship to 12 matches. The Falcons will be aware of the threat posed by the Exiles, though, as they ‘won’ the second half in the first fixture between the sides at the Athletic Ground, scoring three tries before going down 32-49. The game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports HD.
Nottingham will be bidding to make it 11 wins in a row over Moseley at this level when the sides meet at Meadow Lane. They won 28-17 when the sides met at Billesley Common.
A Boxing Day cracker is in prospect if Bedford Blues and Rotherham reproduce the type of rugby on display when they played each other at Clifton Lane. Josh Bassett, who has scored back-to-back hat-tricks in the B&I Cup, scored two tries that day but a penalty try six minutes from time, and the routine conversion, ensured the Titans earned a share of the spoils. Since then Andre Bester has resigned as Titans boss to be replaced by former Blues player Alex Codling.
The always passionate West Country derby between Plymouth and Cornish Pirates concludes the festive action. The Pirates boast a seven-game winning run in the head-to-head standings, with Albion’s last victory in the fixture coming on April 16, 2010, when they won 19-14 in a promotion play-off fixture at Brickfields.
Round 12 fixtures
Saturday December 22
Jersey v Leeds Carnegie, KO 15.00
Sunday December 23
Bristol Rugby v Doncaster Knights, KO 15.00
Newcastle Falcons v London Scottish, KO 15.15 (Live on Sky Sports HD)
Nottingham v Moseley, KO 15.00
Wednesday December 26
Bedford Blues v Rotherham Titans, KO 15.00
Plymouth Albion v Cornish Pirates, KO 15.00