- Cornish Pirates look to build on beating Bristol Rugby
- Ealing Trailfinders seek first win against Rotherham
Photo: Brian Tempest
On Friday evening West Country duo Cornish Pirates and Plymouth Albion will each look to back up the bonus-point victories they achieved during the Exeter leg of the Greene King IPA 1 Big Rugby Weekend when they begin their home campaigns against Leeds and Moseley respectively.
The Pirates, buoyed by a hugely creditable 23-21 victory over much-fancied Bristol Rugby, welcome a Leeds side that has not won in the Duchy since November 15, 2008. Jimmy Lowes’ men will need to produce a much-improved performance from the one that saw them beaten 24-16 by Nottingham on the opening day of the season if they are to turn that record around.
If selected, four of the Leeds players will be on familiar territory, though. The Dohertys, backs David and James, and forwards James Currie and Mike Myerscough are all former Pirates.
Plymouth and Moseley, who meet at Brickfields, enjoyed contrasting fortunes on the opening weekend. While James Shanahan celebrated his first competitive game in charge of Albion with a tremendous 41-27 victory over Jersey at Sandy Park, Moseley were outclassed 42-24 by Rotherham in the Castle Park double-header the day before.
Six of the last seven matches between the two sides have been settled by a margin of eight points or less, with Moseley winning four. Moseley won 9-6 on their last visit to Brickfields.
On Saturday, Jersey, captained by ex-Blue Alex Rae, tackle Bedford at St Peter. Bedford were second best to London Welsh in the Allianz Park double-header and have not lost their first two games of the season since Mike Rayer took charge in 2005. They also won home and away when these sides met last season.
Rotherham and Ealing will face each other for the first time in a competitive fixture when they do battle at Clifton Lane on Saturday. The Titans were mightily impressive in their defeat of Moseley on Saturday in Round 1, reflected in Head Coach Lee Blackett's post-match comments.
“There were some brilliant individual performances, but I don’t think anyone had a bad game from 1-22,” he said. “Our discipline was a slight issue for us in the first half because we gave away 11 penalties, but we corrected that in the second half and our defence, apart from a couple of lapses, was very solid.
"To get five points from the opening game is really positive for us.”
In contrast, newly-promoted Ealing were on the wrong end of a 44-13 score line against London Scottish. The Exiles' victory was a fitting send-off for departing Director of Rugby Simon Amor who is set to take over as England Sevens Head Coach. Scottish begin life without him with a trip to Bristol, who will be desperate to put last weekend’s two-point loss to Cornish Pirates behind them and stretch their winning run over the Exiles to five games.
Round two concludes with the Meadow Lane clash between Nottingham and London Welsh, who both got off to winning starts on the opening weekend. Welsh have won six of the last eight meetings between the sides, including a 33-25 play-off win in Nottingham en route to the 2012 title.
Greene King IPA Championship round two fixtures
Friday September 20
Cornish Pirates v Bristol, kick-off 19.45
Plymouth Albion v Moseley, kick-off 19.45
Saturday September 21
Rotherham Titans v Ealing Trailfinders, kick-off 15:00
Jersey v Bedford Blues, kick-off 15:00
Sunday September 22
Bristol Rugby v London Scottish, kick-off 15:00
Nottingham v London Welsh, kick-off 15:15