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British & Irish Cup: Pirates on perfect form after two rounds

24 October 2013

  • Pontypridd join Pirates with maximum points after two rounds
  • London Welsh without a win in tournament so far
Leeds Carnegie in British & Irish Cup action

Photo: RFU Archive

Cornish Pirates and Pontypridd, two clubs with a proud British & Irish Cup pedigree, are the only sides to boast a perfect record of 10 points from 10 after two rounds of the competition.

Inaugural winners Cornish Pirates have managed bonus-points over Ulster Ravens and Ayr, while Pontypridd got a maximum return from fixtures against Edinburgh Academicals and London Welsh.

The sides placed one and two do battle in Pool 6 in the next round, with Pirates up against Championship rivals Jersey, who they defeated at home and away in the first and last matches of the 2013/14 league campaign. Influential Jersey scrum-half Nicky Griffiths heads a list of former Pirates set to return to their former home. The remaining Pool 6 tie sees Ulster Ravens travel to Ayr.

In Pool 2, a 3,400-strong crowd turned out to see the Pontypridd’s last B&I Cup fixture, a commendable 29-22 win over London Welsh, to give head coach Dale McIntosh a rousing send-off. McIntosh, known at Pontypridd as ‘The Chief’, has accepted the role as defence coach at Cardiff Blues. In 2010/11, the Welsh Premiership champions reached the semi-finals of the B&I Cup where they lost to eventual winners Bristol.

London Welsh are at home to Edinburgh Academicals. Both sides are without a win after the first two rounds.
Something has to give in Pool 1 where defending champions Leinster ‘A’ take on Cross Keys in December, the only other Welsh side apart from Pontypridd to reach the knockout stages of the competition. Both sides have nine points after recording wins in their first two games. Moseley play fellow Championship strugglers Ealing Trailfinders at Billesley Common.

Bedford scrape first season win against Llanelli

Pool 3 is shaping up to be the tightest of pools with just two points separating all four sides a third of the way through the fixtures. Bedford’s narrow win over Llanelli in round two – their first victory of any kind this season – puts them level on points with the west Walians.

Plymouth Albion and previous winners Munster A come up against each other for the second year running when they do battle at Brickfields. This Pool 4 tie is sure to be a keenly-awaited affair as both sides are unbeaten and top the pool with nine points apiece. Munster won 26-22 at Brickfields in the pool stages of last year’s competition. Nottingham are away to Stirling County.

It remains to be seen whether Aberavon will be able to stage their Pool 5 tie against early pace-setters Leeds Carnegie at the Talbot Athletic Ground after a huge hole was found in the middle of the pitch during the Wizards’ game against Bristol. Bristol were leading 24-20 with 68 minutes gone when the drainage system collapsed. Bristol are at home to Gala in round three.