British & Irish Cup round six preview

20th January 2016

An impressive six out of eight Greene King IPA Championship teams are currently heading to the British & Irish Cup knockouts – but it’s still all to play for as the pool stages wind to a close.

London Scottish are still in with a sniff – third in Pool 3 though with 15 points, a victory will see them leapfrog eighth-seed Munster A but results must go their way elsewhere.

It is not just the fight for qualification but also home advantage in the quarter-final, with Doncaster Knights and Jersey one of the key ties of the round.

The Knights, cup finalists last year, extended their unbeaten run to 12 games with a 40-0 shutout of Connacht Eagles last week and top Pool 5 with 21 points.

Jersey are currently the seventh seed and just four points behind the Knights  with a points difference of just 15 separating the two sides.

Lose at Castle Park and they could fall out of the knockouts altogether, but on the flip side they could entertain quarter-final opponents back at St Peter.

The same goes in Pool 4 as London Welsh and Cornish Pirates tussle it out for top spot and a guarantee of the next round.

The Exiles beat Cardiff Blues Premiership Select by the skin of their teeth last time out – needing a last-minute Olly Barkley penalty to win 32-30 – and the Pirates are fresh from a bonus-point victory over bottom-place Nottingham.

The pair could hardly be closer in the pool – London Welsh lead by two points and cannot afford to lose at Old Deer Park on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Bedford Blues' 22-17 success at Ulster A last Friday has left them top of Pool 2, though they must beat Scarlets Premiership Select to stand any chance of a home quarter-final.

And tenth-seed Bristol, on 14 points, could still qualify from the same group after keeping their own hopes alive with a 17-16 win at Scarlets.

Ellis Genge and Chris Brooker crossed either side of half-time, but it is likely nothing less than a bonus-point victory over Ulster at Ashton Gate will do this week.

Also on the brink of qualification are Yorkshire Carnegie, after stand-in captain Andy Saull scored a staggering four tries in a 43-29 triumph over Munster A.

Currently the third seed for the knockouts, a home quarter-final is theirs should they clinch victory over Ospreys Premiership Select at The Gnoll.

And Moseley are by no means out of it yet – just one point outside the top eight seeds heading into the final pool stage round – though must lick their wounds after a home loss to Leinster A.

In their way this week in Pool 1 are Ealing Trailfinders, who are still searching for their first cup win of the season.

Rotherham Titans have been knocked out of contention but will have the chance to pit their wits against the unbeaten Leinster A at Donnybrook.

Round six fixtures

Friday January 22
Leinster A v Rotherham Titans, kick-off 7.30pm
Bristol Rugby v Ulster 'A', kick-off 7.45pm
Nottingham Rugby v Cardiff Blues Premiership Select, kick-off 7.45pm

Saturday January 23
Bedford Blues v Scarlets Premiership Select, kick-off 2pm
Doncaster Knights v Jersey, kick-off 2pm
Ealing Trailfinders v Moseley, kick-off 2pm
London Welsh v Cornish Pirates, kick-off 2pm
Munster 'A' v London Scottish, kick-off 2pm
Dragons Premiership Select v Connacht Eagles, kick-off 2pm
Ospreys Premiership Select v Yorkshire Carnegie, kick-off 2pm

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