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British & Irish Cup: Round two preview

14 October 2013

  • Title-holders off with a bang against Championship newcomers
  • Bedford remain in search of first season win in any competition
Cornish Pirates match action, British & Irish Cup

Photo: Brian Tempest

Pool 1 pacesetters and defending British & Irish Cup champions Leinster A will look to back up their comfortable bonus-point win over competition newcomers Ealing Trailfinders in round one with victory over Moseley at Billesley Common on Saturday afternoon.

Leinster made it a debut to forget for Championship strugglers Ealing, scoring seven tries on their way to a 49-8 success at Donnybrook. Saturday's round two fixture will be the first time Moseley have played an Irish opponent since Munster A won 29-0 in Birmingham in December, 2011.

Ealing begin their home campaign with a game against 2012 semi-finalists Cross Keys, who beat Moseley 20-16 thanks to a strong first-half showing.

In Pool 2, there were winning starts for London Scottish and Pontypridd over London Welsh and Edinburgh Academicals respectively. Miles Mantella took his overall tally of tries for the season in all competitions to seven with a brace in Scottish's opening day 32-26 success away to rivals London Welsh at Monks Lane, Newbury.

Welsh Premiership champions Pontypridd rewarded a large away following with a 53-13 win over Accies at Raeburn Place. Accies now travel south to play London Scottish at the Athletic Ground, while in the other tie there is a return to Sardis Road for former Pontypridd back-rower and current London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell.

Bedford Blues in search of crucial first win

2011 runners-up Bedford are still awaiting their first win of any kind this season following a one-point loss at Rotherham in their opening Pool 3 clash. Blues entertain Llanelli on Saturday in a fixture that dates back 116 years.

Since the first meeting in 1897, a 6-3 win for the Scarlets, the west Walians have won 11 times to Bedford's 4. Bedford have enjoyed the better times in recent years though, losing just one of the last five fixtures. Llanelli go into the match in buoyant mood following a 76-14 rout of Connacht Eagles in round one. Connacht host Rotherham at the Sportsground, Galway.

Bedford Blues, British & Irish Cup

Photo: Tania Richards

Past winners Munster A got off to the perfect start with a bonus-point win over Stirling to set them up nicely for Friday's tie against Nottingham at Meadow Lane. Nottingham lost 28-9 to Plymouth – their fourth defeat in a row. Munster, the only team to play in two finals, came away with the narrowest of victories the last time they faced Nottingham at Meadow Lane, winning 15-14 in January 2011 in front of a 3,000-strong crowd. Albion take on Stirling at Bridgehaugh Park.

An old rivalry will be restored when Aberavon and Bristol – the top two sides in Pool 5 – meet at the Talbot Athletic Ground on Saturday. Overall, 38 'friendly' games have been played between the clubs since the first meeting in 1896, with Bristol winning 22, Aberavon 10 and 6 games drawn. Aberavon won the last game: 41-20 on March 3rd, 1997.

A Wizards side packed with regional rugby experienced disposed of Gala, 31-17, in the Scottish Borders to kick their campaign off with a regulation win. That four-point return was matched by Bristol who needed a late try from Ben Glynn to defeat Championship rivals Leeds Carnegie 21-17 in wet conditions at the Memorial Ground. Leeds welcome Gala to Headingley Carnegie on Sunday.
Jersey started their British and Irish Cup campaign with a 28-16 victory over Ayr, who played large parts of the game with 13 men. The bonus-point win puts Jersey level with Cornish Pirates at the top of Pool Six with five points each from their opening game. Ulster Ravens and Ayr are both yet to get off the mark. The Ravens will be looking to get things back on track when they face a Jersey side containing ex Ulster fly-half, Niall O'Connor, at Ravenhill on Friday night. The following day inaugural B&I Cup winners Cornish Pirates make the 600-mile journey to play Ayr.

Round 2 fixtures
Friday October 18
Ulster Ravens v Jersey (kick-off 19:30)
Nottingham Rugby v Munster A (kick-off 20:00)

Saturday October 19
Aberavon v Bristol Rugby (kick-off 14:30)
Ayr v Cornish Pirates (kick-off 15:00)
Bedford Blues v Llanelli (kick-off 15:00)
Connacht Eagles v Rotherham Titans (kick-off 14:30)
Ealing Trailfinders v Cross Keys (kick-off 15:00)
London Scottish v Edinburgh Academicals (kick-off 15:00)
Moseley v Leinster A (kick-off 15:00)
Pontypridd v London Welsh (kick-off 14:30)
Stirling v Plymouth Albion (kick-off 15:00)

Sunday October 20
Leeds Carnegie v Gala (kick-off 14:30)


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