- Thrilling season reaches knock-out stages
- Bristol, Bedford, Cornish Pirates and London Welsh set to do battle
Photo: RFU Achive
Another thrilling season of Championship rugby reaches the knockout stages this weekend with the top four sides from Stages 1 and 2 all competing in the semi-finals.
By common consensus the games between Bedford and London Welsh (Friday, May 4, kick off 7.45pm) and Cornish Pirates and Bristol (Monday May 7, kick off 12.05pm) are too close to call, with previous league meetings this season all settled by fine margins.
Bedford have opted to play the first leg of their semi-final against old rivals London Welsh at home, with the return game at Old Deer Park coming some nine days later on May 13.
The Blues beat Welsh 22-18 in the corresponding fixture at Goldington Road on September 17, 2011, although the visitors did outscore them on the try count, two to one.
Photo: RFU Archive
London Welsh exacted revenge with a 25-24 win on December 3, the sides sharing six tries in another game of high drama. The sides also met in the British & Irish Cup: a 33-30 victory for Bedford at Sunbury-on-Thames.
Bristol have gone down the more conventional route of choosing to play the second leg of their semi-final against Cornish Pirates at the Memorial Stadium where they have yet to be beaten in the league this season.
First up, though, is a trip to the Mennaye Field, the scene of two defeats during the 2011/12 campaign: 22-50 in the British & Irish Cup and 17-18 in the Championship. Bristol won 37-33 at the Memorial Stadium on November 20.
RFU Championship semi-finals
- Bedford Blues v London Welsh, Friday May 4, KO 1945 – Updates via @RFUChampionship
- Cornish Pirates v Bristol Rugby, Monday May 7, KO 1205 – Sky Sports HD
- Bristol Rugby v Cornish Pirates, Sunday May 13, KO 1245 – Sky Sports HD
- London Welsh v Bedford Blues, Sunday May 13, KO 1500- Updates via @RFUChampionship
2011/12 RFU Championship Final
- Wednesday May 23 and 30 – both on Sky Sports HD