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RFU Championship steps up a gear

02 March 2012

  • Play-offs to start on March 9 with Doncaster v Bristol
  • Bottom club Esher hope to continue winning run

The RFU Championship is moving into the play-off stage

Photo: RFU Archive

Following the conclusion of Stage 1, the play-off pools for Stage 2 of the RFU Championship were announced last week.

Bristol Rugby and Bedford Blues start on top of their individual promotion pools, having finished first and second in the league stage, each with three points to their name.

Along with Bristol in Pool A, London Welsh, Nottingham and Doncaster Knights will fight it out in a bid to finish in the two top places of the table, securing their place in the semi-finals.

The first round of games will take place on the weekend of March 9-11 and the first Friday evening game promises to get the second stage off to an exciting start when Bristol travel to Doncaster Knights in a top against bottom clash. 

The West Country outfit will be hoping to continue the form that pushed them to finish top of the league in Stage 1, while the Knights will be looking to overturn the 52-26 loss at The Memorial Stadium, this time with home advantage

In the other Pool A game, London Welsh welcome Nottingham Rugby to Old Deer Park where, when the teams met back in September, the Exiles won a close game 34-23.

In Pool B, it’s Cornish Pirates, Leeds Carnegie and Rotherham that will join Bedford in an attempt to push through to the semi-final stages.

The first round of games features Bedford Blues v Rotherham Titans and Cornish Pirates v Leeds Carnegie.

Both Pirates and Carnegie come into the match off the back of comfortable victories against London Welsh and Moseley and this promises to be one of the clashes of the round as last year’s runners up face the former Premiership side.

Both Rotherham and Bedford won the home leg of their games during the season, suggesting home advantage will be the deciding factor when these two meet.

But with Bedford on a three-game winning run heading into the clash, the Clifton Lane faithful will be in for a fierce battle.

Meanwhile in the relegation play-off pool, London Scottish face Esher, with both teams fresh off the back of victories last weekend.

Esher beat Plymouth Albion 47-17 to extend their winning run to three games, while London Scottish saw off Rotherham Titans 15-0 in what was the first clean sheet of the season for any side.

Play-off pools
Pool A: Bristol Rugby, London Welsh, Nottingham Rugby, Doncaster Knights
Pool B: Bedford Blues, Cornish Pirates, Leeds Carnegie, Rotherham Titans
Pool C: London Scottish, Moseley, Plymouth Albion, Esher Rugby

For the full list of fixtures, visit