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RFU Championship Round 20 preview: RFU Championship Launch_Logo

RFU Championship Round 20 preview

The Sky Sports cameras will be at Castle Park on Good Friday to see if relegation threatened Doncaster can record a much-needed victory over fierce local rivals Nottingham.

The bottom-of-the-table Knights go into the game seven points adrift of 11th-placed Jersey who picked up a losing bonus point last time out against Bristol. Doncaster’s game at Bedford was postponed.

Nottingham have enjoyed the upper hand in recent clashes against Doncaster, winning all five of last season’s meetings including regular season and play-off victories at Castle Park. The high-flying Green & Whites routed the Knights 52-7 when the sides met at Meadow Lane earlier this season, although Doncaster did win there in the British & Irish Cup. Doncaster’s last league win over Nottingham was on October 2, 2010, when they came out on top in a 46-42 thriller.

The Good Friday fixture at Castle Park is the first of three Championship games to be screened live by Sky Sports over the course of the next fortnight, with Bristol v Plymouth to follow on Easter Sunday and Nottingham v Cornish Pirates on April 14th, the penultimate round of the regular season.

Newcastle welcome Jersey to Kingston Park in the second match to be played on Good Friday. Alex Tait’s 100th appearance for Newcastle was marked with a 24-3 bonus-point victory for the Falcons when the sides met at St Peter back in November. Newcastle go into the fixture having been pushed to the limit in their last two matches, winning by a couple of points on each occasion against Bedford and Nottingham.

Saturday’s solitary game takes place at Billesley Common where Moseley will look to extinguish any lingering relegation fears with victory over London Scottish. The Exiles have won four of the last five Championship meetings including a 23-18 success at the Athletic Ground in Round 10. Moseley last tasted success against Scottish in October after they overturned a 20-point deficit to win a pulsating British & Irish Cup tie, 41-37.

On Sunday last season’s Championship finalists Cornish Pirates renew their rivalry with Bedford, ever-presents in each of the last three Championship semi-finals. The Blues go to the Duchy in search of a league double over the Pirates following a 32-6 win at Goldington Road at the end of November. Pirates beat Bedford by the narrowest of margins (21-20) at the Mennaye Field in last season’s promotion play-offs.

Nineteen years after their first-ever league clash (in the old Division 4) Leeds and Rotherham do battle for the 20th time in a competitive fixture. Victory at Headingley Carnegie on Sunday would see Leeds level the head-to-head standings at nine wins apiece and also give them a chance to reclaim the top four spot they lost to Bristol last weekend.  Rotherham won on their last visit to Headingley: 20-3 at the promotion play-off stage of the 2011/12 campaign. Both sides’ games were postponed last weekend.

Bristol and Plymouth’s televised clash at the Memorial Stadium concludes the weekend’s action. Fourth-placed Bristol extended their winning run over Albion to 10 straight matches with a 21-8 victory at Brickfields on November 24, 2012. After four-and-a-half months and at the tenth game of trying Plymouth finally ended their losing sequence away to London Scottish. The 16-9 win all but guaranteed the Devon club their place in the Championship next season.

Friday, 29 March 2013
Doncaster Knights Vs. Nottingham 16:45 Castle Park, Live on Sky Sports HD
Newcastle Falcons Vs. Jersey 17:00 Kingston Park, Newcastle

Saturday, 30 March 2013
Moseley Vs. London Scottish 15:00 Billesley Common

Sunday, 31 March 2013
Cornish Pirates Vs. Bedford Blues 15:00 The Mennaye
Leeds Carnegie Vs. Rotherham Titans 15:00 Headingley
Bristol Rugby Vs. Plymouth Albion 16:05 Memorial Stadium, Live on Sky Sports HD