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British & Irish Cup: Round 4 Preview

British & Irish Cup: Round 4 Preview

The British & Irish Cup resumes this weekend, with four of the pools topped by English Championship sides and a fifth headed by reigning champions Leinster ‘A’. Girvan Dempsey’s young side are in a three-way battle with Jersey and Saturday’s opponents Carmarthen Quins for top spot in Pool 5.

Elsewhere, the tie of the round appears to be at Ashton Gate where the Pool 1 pacesetters, Bristol and Pontypridd, two sides with good British & Irish Cup pedigrees, go head-to-head in the latest installment of a rivalry that dates back 115 years.

Bristol have won each of their 11 games this season while Pontypridd’s only defeat was at the hands of Andy Robinson’s men in round 3. The Sardis Road fixture was watched by just under 6,000 fans and another bumper attendance is expected for Sunday’s rematch.

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London Scottish (4th) v CONNACHT EAGLES (3rd), Athletic Ground, Saturday, November 29, 7pm

It has been a case of so near yet so far for London Scottish in the British & Irish Cup. The Exiles looked to be heading for their first win of the competition in Round 3, but two late Connacht Eagles tries meant they had to settle for the consolation of a third losing bonus point.

The 30-27 defeat in Galway leaves Scottish bottom of the pool with Saturday’s opponents two points above them in third.

Bristol (1st) v Pontypridd (2nd), Sunday, November 30, 3pm

The respective leaders of the Greene King IPA Championship and Welsh Premiership clash at Ashton Gate in a tie that could well decide who qualifies for the knockout stages as winners of Pool 1. Bristol go into Sunday’s match sitting top the table on 13 points with Pontypridd four points off the pace in second.

A brace of tries from David Lemi and one from Luke Baldwin saw Bristol win 24-13 at Sardis Road. Since then, Bristol have stretched their winning start to the season to 11 matches while Pontypridd’s league record remains unblemished.

Round 3 Results –
Connacht Eagles 30 London Scottish 27
Pontypridd 13 Bristol 24


Rotherham Titans (1st) v ULSTER RAVENS (4th), Clifton Lane, Saturday, November 29, 2pm

Top plays bottom at Clifton Lane on Saturday as Pool 2 leaders Rotherham go in search of their fourth straight win against an Ulster Ravens side that has yet to taste victory.

Titans top the table on 14 points while Ulster have 4. Perry Parker’s last-gasp try and James McKinney’s conversion saw Rotherham come from behind to win 31-29 when the sides met in round 3. The Ravens won 31-24 on their only other visit to Clifton Lane in December 2011.

Aberavon (3rd) v Yorkshire Carnegie (2nd), Friday, November 28, 7.15pm

Yorkshire Carnegie have encountered lean times since they thrashed Aberavon 85-0 in round 3. The Leeds-based outfit have lost to Rotherham and Bedford and drawn with lowly Plymouth, scoring just three tries in the process. Aberavon, meanwhile, are rooted to the bottom of the Welsh Premiership with just one win to their name.

Round 3 Results –
Ulster Ravens 29 Rotherham Titans 31
Yorkshire Carnegie 85 Aberavon 0


MUNSTER ‘A’ (2nd) v Nottingham (4th), Temple Hill, Saturday, November 29, 3pm

A 23-12 reverse to Munster ‘A’ in Round 3 at Meadow Lane made it three straights defeats for Nottingham in this year’s competition. The Green & Whites prop up Pool 3 with one point to their name while former champions Munster ‘A’ are on nine points, four points behind leaders Worcester. The Irish province have won all five previous British & Irish Cup clashes between the sides.

Worcester Warriors (1st) v Moseley (3rd), Saturday, November 29, 3pm

Worcester Warriors secured their first try-scoring bonus point and their third win of the competition when they beat Moseley 39-0 at Billesley Common in round 3. Moseley’s last victory of any description against the Warriors was a 22-15 success on December 9, 2000. Worcester go into the match on 13 points while Moseley have five.

Round 3 Results –
Nottingham 12 Munster ‘A’ 23
Moseley 0 Worcester Warriors 39


Bedford Blues (4th) v Doncaster Knights (1st), Friday, November 28, 7.45pm

Pool 4 leaders Doncaster defend their 100% record in the British & Irish Cup against a Bedford side no doubt still smarting from last Sunday’s 65-14 league defeat to Cornish Pirates. The Knights’ last success at Goldington Road was a 33-31 win in the Championship promotion play-offs on April 2, 2011. Doncaster will hope for a return to winning ways after losing all three league games since they beat the Blues 36-20 at Castle Park in round 3.

Cross Keys (2nd) v Cornish Pirates (3rd), Saturday, November 29, 2.30pm

Cornish Pirates need to avenge their loss to Cross Keys at Pandy Park in the semi-final of the 2011/12 competition if they are to maintain the pressure on Doncaster at the top of Pool 4. Pirates are currently four points off the pace having won two of their first three games, including a 34-33 triumph over Cross Keys in round 3, while the Welsh side are a further four points adrift on seven points.

Pirates have been involved in three high-scoring matches with an average of 63 points scored per game. Of all the sides holding a top two position at the halfway point of the pool stages, they are the only one with a negative points difference (-2).

Round 3 Results –
Doncaster Knights 36 Bedford Blues 20
Cornish Pirates 34 Cross Keys 33


Jersey (2nd) v Plymouth Albion (4th), Friday, November 28, 7.30pm

Jersey go looking for a hat-trick of victories over Albion this season, after winning 19-0 in the league at St. Peter and 22-16 at Brickfields in the third round of the British & Irish Cup. In what is proving to be the most competitive of all the pools, Jersey are joint top with Leinster ‘A’ on nine points with third-placed Carmarthen Quins one point in arrears. Winless Plymouth have three points from three games.

LEINSTER ‘A’ (1st) v Carmarthen Quins (3rd), Donnybrook, Saturday, November 29, 1pm

Carmarthen Quins stunned two-time winners Leinster ‘A’ in round 3, after coming back from 21-3 down at half-time to win 26-24. A last-gasp try from replacement prop Ben Leung and Frazier Climo’s brilliant touchline conversion clinched a terrific victory for the Welsh side, who are currently second in the Welsh Premiership table. Quins’ five-game winning run in all competitions came to an end last weekend, though, when they were beaten 20-15 away to Cross Keys.

Round 3 Results –
Carmarthen Quins 26 Leinster ‘A’ 24
Plymouth Albion 16 Jersey 22