- Leeds looking for silverware after Championship exit
- B&I Cup final broadcast live on RFU.com
Photo: RFU Archive
Having seen their promotion hopes dashed following Sunday’s heartbreaking Greene King IPA Championship play-off defeat to London Welsh, Leeds Carnegie have one more opportunity to take some silverware from the 2013/14 season with an appearance in the final of the British & Irish (B&I) Cup at Donnybrook on Friday night.
James Lowes’ side travel to Dublin to take on reigning champions Leinster A, kick-off 7pm, as they bid to emulate former winners Cornish Pirates and Bristol Rugby and become the third English side to lift the trophy in the five years of competition.
Free-scoring Leeds averaged 45 points per game in qualifying for the knockout stages, with home and away victories against outclassed Aberavon and Gala and a final-day home win over Bristol confirming their place at the top of Pool 5. After a five-try rout of Plymouth Albion in the quarter-final, a young Leeds side produced an outstanding display to beat Bristol 30-25 and book their place in Friday’s showpiece.
Photo: RFU Archive
Holders Leinster breezed through Pool 1 with six straight victories – against Ealing Trailfinders, Moseley and Cross Keys, home and away – to top the table by 13 points. For the third year in a row Leinster were paired with inter-provincial rivals Munster A in the knockout stages.
In each of the previous two meetings in the competition, the winner has gone on to win the British & Irish Cup and Leinster will hope history repeats itself this year after a comprehensive 47-15 quarter-final victory. The semi-final away to Pontypridd could not have been closer, a dramatic tie finishing all-square at 22-22 after a tense period of extra-time but with Leinster ultimately going through on try count.
Leinster A played Leeds on their way to B&I Cup glory in 2013, winning their home tie 47-18 before the sides fought out a 30-30 draw in the return leg on the artificial surface at West Park RUFC after snow had threatened to see the game called off.
For UK viewers, watch the stream live here. Those in the Republic of Ireland can view the game via Setanta.