Greene King IPA Championship Round 3 preview
'Super Saturday' in the Greene King IPA Championship kicks off with London Welsh and Plymouth Albion, two of three remaining unbeaten sides left in the competition, going head to head at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford (KO 14.30pm).
2012 champions Welsh, who made it two wins out of two with an impressive 46-19 victory over Nottingham in Sunday's televised fixture at Meadow Lane, have won the last four meetings against Plymouth, whose last success (a shock 24-12 win) came at Old Deer Park on 14th November 2009. Despite Welsh's recent dominance matches between the two sides have always been highly competitive affairs with last-gasp tries being a feature of the fixture. Plymouth go into the match having surrendered a big lead against Moseley on Friday evening. Albion, who won their opening game of the season against Jersey, eventually had to settle for three points from a 34-34 draw.
The remainder of the Round 3 fixtures are on Saturday afternoon too, all with 3.00pm kick offs. After two straight losses Bedford will be determined to get their season up and running when they entertain Leeds Carnegie at Goldington Road. Leeds won 33-24 on their last visit to the ground in the penultimate round of the 2012/13 regular season - their second victory on Bedford soil in as many seasons. The previous year Leeds won 45-28, although the Blues gained some measure of revenge by winning 26-20 in the promotion play-offs. The overall record between the two sides since the turn of the millennium sees Leeds on top with seven wins to Bedford's four and one draw.
A brace of tries from Miles Mantella, five penalties from James Love, and a heroic defensive performance helped London Scottish defeat Nottingham when they last visited the Athletic Ground in February this year. The Exiles opened up a 14-0 lead on that occasion, but were forced to dig deep in the second half after losing two men to the sin-bin to cling on and win 25-13. The three previous Championship meetings between the sides all went the way of Nottingham.
Moseley will be looking to turn the tables on Rotherham two weeks on from their heavy defeat at the hands of the Titans in the Castle Park leg of the Greene King IPA 1 'Big Rugby Weekend'. Rotherham's 42-24 success that day was their fifth win in a row against the Birmingham-based outfit. Saturday's 79-9 rout of Ealing Trailfinders sees Rotherham currently head the Championship standings with a perfect record of 10 points from their first two fixtures.
Vallis Way plays host to its first-ever Championship fixture on Saturday when Ealing Trailfinders entertain Cornish Pirates. Ealing are still waiting to register their first points since winning promotion from National One, but are on a 10-game winning streak at their home ground. Disregarding the 'Big Rugby Weekend', Cornish Pirates have lost their last five away games in league and cup.
Bristol were pushed all the way by Jersey in last season's corresponding fixture at St Peter – Andy Robinson's first match in sole charge of the Bristol team. However 24 points from fly-half Adrian Jarvis eventually saw the West Country side come away from the Channel Islands with four points following a 29-23 victory.
Round 2 results
Friday September 20
Cornish Pirates 20 Leeds Carnegie 27
Plymouth Albion 34 Moseley 34
Saturday September 21
Jersey 26 Bedford Blues 14
Rotherham Titans 79 Ealing Trailfinders 9
Sunday September 22
Bristol Rugby 31 London Scottish 18
Nottingham Rugby 19 London Welsh 46
Round 3 fixtures
Saturday September 28
London Welsh v Plymouth Albion (KO 14:30)
Bedford Blues v Leeds Carnegie (KO 15:00)
Ealing Trailfinders v Cornish Pirates (KO 15:00)
Jersey v Bristol Rugby (KO 15:00)
London Scottish v Nottingham Rugby (KO 15:00)
Moseley v Rotherham Titans (KO 15:00)