British & Irish Cup Round 6 preview
RFU Championship sides Bedford Blues, Cornish Pirates and Newcastle Falcons have all secured their place in the quarter-finals of the British & Irish Cup with one round of pool games to go.
A fifth straight bonus-point victory against Stirling means the Blues are certain of being one of the top four seeded teams in the last eight draw, guaranteeing them a home tie. The Pirates and Falcons only have to avoid defeat away to Carmarthen and Cross Keys respectively to enjoy the same advantage.
Like Bedford, who scraped home 24-21, Newcastle made heavy weather of beating Connacht at Kingston Park. The Falcons won 16-6 to maintain their winning run going into next weekend’s clash at Pandy Park. Meanwhile, a man-of-the-match display from Wes Davies helped the Pirates see off Dundee, 34-14.
One point from their match against Cardiff on Sunday will be enough to see Bristol join their Championship rivals as a seeded team in the quarter-final draw. Liam Middleton’s men are four points clear of Ulster, who they beat 12-8 in Belfast in Round 5, and they have a far better points tally (22) than the likely pool winners of Pools 5-8 inclusive.
Leinster A went a long way to securing top spot in Pool 5 with a 21-9 win over Pontypridd, their nearest rivals in the table. Leinster need to take a point from their final pool game against Leeds, which has been switched to the John Charles Sports Stadium, to maintain their interest in the competition.
Moseley’s stranglehold on Pool 6 continued after a win by the narrowest of margins at home to London Scottish. Again, one point will be enough for the Midlands side to go through at the expense of Llanelli, who they play in West Wales in their final pool game.
Pool 7 is Munster A’s to lose as they are currently four points clear of second-placed Rotherham Titans. Munster entertain Plymouth in the final fixture, while the Titans are at home to Aberavon.
Dave Jackson’s 100th try for Nottingham in Saturday’s 16-14 win away to Doncaster kept the Green & Whites’ slim hopes of a last eight place alive. Llandovery are the firm favourites to top the pool, though, after they beat Melrose 34-12 to stay five points clear. The two sides face each other at Meadow Lane on Saturday evening.
Friday January 18
Munster A v Plymouth Albion
Saturday January 19
Bridgend v Ulster Ravens, KO 14:00
Neath v Stirling, KO 14:00
Bedford Blues v Bedwas, KO 15:00
Carmarthen v Cornish Pirates, KO 14:00
Dundee v Swansea
Connacht Eagles v Newport
Cross Keys v Newcastle Falcons
Leeds Carnegie v Leinster A, KO 14:00
Pontypridd v Jersey, KO 14:00
Llanelli v Moseley, KO 14:30
London Scottish v Gala, KO 15:00
Rotherham Titans v Aberavon, KO 14:00
Melrose v Doncaster, KO 14:00
Nottingham v Llandovery, KO 20:00
Sunday January 20
Bristol v Cardiff, KO 15:00