Greene King IPA Championship Round Five Preview

30th September 2015

An all-Exile derby now lies in wait for London Scottish after they snapped the only surviving unbeaten streak in the Greene King IPA Championship last weekend. 

Peter Lydon’s last-gasp penalty brought an end to league-leaders Yorkshire Carnegie’s 100 per cent record in a thrilling match that teetered from one side to the other. 

It looked like business as usual for the revitalised Carnegie early on, with debutant fly half Joel Hodgson knocking over a penalty and a conversion after a James Fitzpatrick try. 

Then came 17 unanswered points from the Exiles, Drew Locke and Lydon crossing – the latter also collecting eight points from the tee – but the hosts crept back into the game and Charlie Beech’s converted effort saw them retake the lead. 

Mark Bright, on his 100th Exiles appearance, then touched down and though Andy Forsyth’s try momentarily levelled the scores, Lydon beat the clock to ensure Scottish came away with the 30-27 victory. 

Welsh are in fourth place but are only behind their London rivals on points difference after their own fine 30-24 triumph over the Bedford Blues, with Nic Reynolds, Guy Armitage and Darren Waters all racing over within the first 20 minutes. 

Carnegie will look to atone for last week’s near miss against a Cornish Pirates side that are seeking their first victory over the Yorkshiremen since October 2012. 

The Pirates have not won since the opening day of the season – a 18-14 triumph over Nottingham – and lost in London in round four to the previously winless Ealing Trailfinders. 

Bristol Rugby have well and truly put their opening league defeat to Bedford Blues behind them and head into Sunday’s clash with Rotherham Titans off the back of three straight wins. 

Bristol star Matthew Morgan will make his first start for Wales in the clash with Fiji on Thursday but another Welsh wizard came to the fore in their 24-7 win over Jersey, as Gavin Henson laid on two tries for Tom Varndell before Olly Robinson completed the try scoring. 

Meanwhile, Rotherham are riding on a high after another match that ended in late drama, as Curtis Wilson – with the clock a full five minutes into the red – dotted down and clinched victory over Doncaster Knights. 

Bedford Blues have lost their last two matches and must end their hoodoo against Nottingham, who beat them both home and away in the Championship last year. 

In contrast Nottingham’s fortunes took an upturn on Sunday as a Paul Grant hat-trick claimed a win over Moseley to haul the Lady Bay outfit off the foot of the Championship table. 

Despite opening their campaign with three defeats Ealing Trailfinders have had little trouble in attack after scoring a combined 96 points through four rounds so far. 

Indeed their trip to Doncaster Knights this weekend is likely to be a high-scoring affair – back row Latu Makaafi tops the scoring charts with six tries already his year while Dougie Flockhart leads the way off the tee with 55 points. 

And Moseley and Jersey will look to gain an important psychological advantage over each other this weekend – with the losers likely to finish Round 5 anchored to the bottom of the table. 

And though the history books favour Moseley, Jersey will take heart from their 40-21 rout last April – their first win in six meetings over Kevin Maggs’ side.

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