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RFU Championship: Round 17 preview

03 January 2012

  • Bristol and Rotherham out to defend unbeaten home runs
  • Esher head into Round 17 following first win of the season

RFU Championship Round 17 preview

Table-topping Bristol and title hopefuls Rotherham will go all out to defend perfect home records in Round 17 of the RFU Championship this weekend.

Both sides have won all seven games so far played in front of their own supporters and Bristol will be confident of extending that run against bottom-of-the-table Esher. But Mike Schmid’s men will go into the game buoyed by their first win of the season – a 24-12 success against Rotherham.

Rotherham, though, have proved more than a match for anyone at Clifton Lane, and London Welsh will have to be at their best to avoid joining the likes of Bristol and Bedford in leaving South Yorkshire empty-handed.

For the fourth time this season, Tommy Bell kicked a match-winning penalty with the final play of the game as Leeds beat London Scottish 19-17 last Sunday.

Saturday's opponents Moseley came unstuck in similar fashion back in mid-October, losing 22-21 at Headingley, and since then Bell has gone on to score 164 Championship points – over half his side’s overall total.

Plymouth ended a run of six straight league losses with victory over Doncaster, but their celebrations were muted following the news that Pete Drewett had parted company with the club after less than six weeks in charge.

Nat Saumi and John Roberts will take temporary charge of coaching for the trip to London Scottish on Saturday, while elsewhere in the fixture list Doncaster play Bedford and Cornish Pirates take on Nottingham – two matches that ended in draws earlier in the campaign.