RFU Championship Round 16 preview
Having done just enough to maintain their winning start to the season with a narrow victory against Leeds Carnegie in the mud at Cross Green, Newcastle Falcons will be looking to up their game considerably when they play Moseley at home on Friday night.
Moseley were swept aside 53-13 when the sides met in Round 6, all seven of the Falcons’ tries coming through the forwards. On their last visit to Kingston Park, in the 1996/96 season, Moseley were beaten 88-19. Moseley go into the fixture against the runaway league leaders on the back of an enforced weekend off following the postponement of their game against Bristol because of a waterlogged pitch at Billesley Common.
Doncaster Knights need to find a win from somewhere or risk running out of time in their battle for survival. They returned home from Cornish Pirates on Sunday without any reward from a determined display that saw them lose 31-18 – their 12th defeat of the season, which leaves them five points adrift at the bottom of the table. A derby win at home to Leeds on Saturday would be the perfect tonic for the Knights who were beaten 42-7 by their Yorkshire rivals in the last game to be played on the old Headingley turf back in October.
Jersey will be wary of a Nottingham backlash when the sides meet at St Peter this Saturday, as the Green & Whites slipped to a 25-13 defeat at the hands of London Scottish last time out. Nottingham won the Meadow Lane fixture 48-16.
Plymouth Albion have won only once in their last 10 meetings with Bedford and slipped to a 55-17 defeat at the hands of the Blues at Goldington Road this season. Ex-Plymouth player and current Blues skipper James Pritchard was a thorn in their side that day with a 25-point personal haul. The Blues moved back into second place at the expense of Nottingham following their win over Jersey.
Sunday’s double bill sees Cornish Pirates at home to a London Scottish side that appears to save its best for high-flying opposition. The win over Bedford at the start of 2013 was backed up on Saturday with the victory at home to Nottingham. The Exiles also picked up a bonus point in each of their games against Newcastle, and Pirates fans will not forget that their side lost 25-24 at the Athletic Ground back in October.
Honours are even in the overall head-to-head standings between Bristol and Rotherham going into their clash at the Memorial Stadium on Sunday. In league and cup competitions each side has won seven games apiece, although recent form favours the Titans as they have won four of the last five meetings. This season’s fixture at Clifton Lane ended in a 23-16 home win.
Round 16 fixtures
Friday February 15
Newcastle Falcons Vs. Moseley 20:00 Kingston Park
Saturday February 16
Doncaster Knights Vs. Leeds Carnegie 14:30 Castle Park
Jersey Vs. Nottingham 15:00 St Peter
Plymouth Albion Vs. Bedford Blues 15:00 Brickfields
Sunday February 17
Cornish Pirates Vs. London Scottish 14:30 The Mennaye
Bristol Rugby Vs. Rotherham Titans 15:00 Memorial Ground