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RFU Championship semi-final 1 preview

30 April 2013

  • RFU Championship semi-finals kick off this weekend
  • Nottingham and Bedfors's legs to be streamed live via @RFUChampionship
Fred Burdon

Photo: RFU Archive

The RFU Championship season reaches the knock-out stages this weekend with Bedford Blues entertaining Nottingham (Saturday, May 4, KO 3pm) and Leeds Carnegie at home to Newcastle Falcons (Monday, May 6, KO 3.15pm) in the first instalment of the two-legged semi-finals.

Bedford finished the regular season just three points behind Nottingham in the league standings with victories for the home side in each of the two fixtures between the sides.

Ben Ransom’s converted try deep into stoppage time earned Bedford a 27-25 win at Goldington Road back in September, while the return fixture, televised live by Sky Sports, deservedly went the way of the Green & Whites by 25 points to 17.

Nottingham have not beaten Bedford at Goldington Road since a 27-26 success there on December 29, 2007.

History suggests table-topping Newcastle should get the better of Leeds Carnegie in the battle of two former Premiership sides. Carnegie have only won once in 11 attempts at home to Newcastle: a 16-15 victory in March 2008.

Their most recent setback came at Cross Green, Otley, with Headingley out of action. But since returning to their usual home ground at the end of March, Leeds have beaten Rotherham and Nottingham as part of an impressive six-match winning run.

The Falcons, meanwhile, fell at the final hurdle in their attempt to go through the regular season unbeaten when Bristol pulled off a shock 19-15 victory at Kingston Park a fortnight ago. But Dean Richards’ men bounced back a week later with a hard-fought 18-15 win away to Bedford in the British & Irish Cup semi-final.

Both legs of the Leeds v Newcastle semi-final will be televised live by Sky Sports, while Nottingham and Bedford's semi-final legs will be streamed live via @RFUChampionship.

RFU Championship semi-finals

Bedford Blues v Nottingham Rugby, Saturday, May 4, KO 3pm. LIVE on @RFUChampionship from 2.45pm #rfuchamplive
Leeds Carnegie v Newcastle Falcons, Monday, May 6, KO 3.15pm, LIVE on Sky Sports HD

Nottingham Rugby v Bedford Blues, Friday, May 10, KO 8pm, LIVE on @RFUChampionship from 7.45pm. #rfuchamplive
Newcastle Falcons v Leeds Carnegie, Sunday, May 12,  KO 1.15pm, LIVE on Sky Sports HD