RFU Championship Round 22 preview
Doncaster Knights' 38-26 loss to Bedford Blues at Goldington Road yesterday evening consigned the club to relegation from the RFU Championship.
Despite scoring four tries, three during a second half comeback to bring the visitors within eight points of avoiding the drop, the Knights were unable to overturn the home side and will face next season in SSE National League 1. The Knights will look to end their difficult season on a high in front of home support as they entertain Plymouth Albion on Saturday.
For Bedford, the bonus point win sees the club climb into 3rd place in the table, three points above Leeds Carnegie in 4th. The Blues will secure their place in the semi-finals with a win over Moseley on Saturday in what should be a thrilling finale to the regular season. Bedford they have won on each of their last six visits to Billesley Common.
League leaders Newcastle play Bristol at Kingston Park in the league for the first time since September 26, 2008. The visitors have most at stake as they need to become the first side to beat the Falcons if they are to realistically entertain any hopes of finishing in the top four.
The last league meeting between the sides at Kingston Park ended in a 17-3 win for Newcastle, during which Jonny Wilkinson become the Premiership’s all-time record points-scorer after the World Cup hero kicked two conversions and a penalty. Newcastle won 37-20 at Bristol in this season’s first encounter.
Like Newcastle, Nottingham are assured of a home semi-final after securing second place thanks to a 28-26 win over Cornish Pirates in Sunday’s televised clash. Having beaten the Pirates for the first time in Championship rugby, Nottingham will now look to break their Headingley duck against Leeds. The Green & Whites have lost on their last three visits to Leeds’ famous home and a fourth reverse would guarantee Leeds a shot at promotion. Leeds stretched their winning run to five games with a 33-24 win away to Bedford.
Saturday’s final fixture sees Rotherham play host to London Scottish. Victory at Clifton Lane could be good enough for the Exiles to secure a top half of the table finish. Rotherham have won two of the seven league fixtures between the sides, the last coming back in October 1997 in Allied Dunbar Premiership Two.
Saturday April 20, 15:00 KO
Cornish Pirates v Jersey, LIVE via @RFUChampionship
Doncaster Knights v Plymouth Albion
Leeds Carnegie v Nottingham
Moseley v Bedford Blues
Newcastle Falcons v Bristol Rugby
Rotherham Titans v London Scottish