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Greene King IPA Championship Round 11 preview.

Greene King IPA Championship Round 11 preview.

London Scottish's final game of 2013 is this Saturday - a highly anticipated clash against Greene King IPA Championship leaders London Welsh, 5pm kick-off, at the Kassam Stadium.

London Scottish’s final game of 2013 is this Saturday – a highly anticipated clash against Greene King IPA Championship leaders London Welsh, 5pm kick-off, at the Kassam Stadium.

Welsh hold an eight-point lead at the top of the Championship table going into the match, which will be shown live on Sky Sports.

MPU

They were beaten 28-26 by Bedford in Round 10 – their first league loss of the season – and will be looking to put the record straight on their return to the Kassam Stadium a month after their last game there: a 28-0 win over Ealing.

Scottish have enjoyed success at the expense of Welsh already this season, having come away from Monks Lane, Newbury with a 32-26 win in the B&I Cup.

In their Championship-winning year of 2011/12, Welsh recorded a double over London Scottish, although both were closely-fought affairs with the Athletic Ground outfit claiming a losing bonus point on each occasion.

James Buckland's side are currently in a four-way tie for second place with Yorkshire duo, Rotherham Titans and Leeds Carnegie, and Bristol Rugby.

On paper, Bristol would appear to have the easiest task of the weekend, as they travel to west London to play basement side Ealing.

Bristol have come unstuck against lower-ranked teams in the past though and Ealing will be buoyed by their first win of the season in Round 10, a 28-18 victory away to Jersey.

Last Friday they defeated Moseley 21-18 in the B&I Cup to get their home campaign up and running.

Moseley welcome Jersey to Billesley Common on Saturday, who parted company with head coach Ben Harvey after their loss to Ealing, leaving the visitors six points off the bottom of the table.

Highly-rated forwards coach Steve Boden has been overseeing team affairs since then.

Moseley won 23-19 in last season's corresponding fixture.

Boxing Day's double bill features the West Country showdown between Cornish Pirates and Plymouth Albion, while high-flying Rotherham are up against last season's beaten finalists Bedford.

Pirates won narrowly in both of last season's cross-Tamar derbies, 19-17 on home soil and 9-5 in monsoon-like conditions in the return match at Brickfields.

For the second season running Rotherham and Bedford play each other on Boxing Day.

Twelve months ago it was the Blues who took the points after a 22-16 win at Goldington Road.

Earlier that year James McKinney's late penalty earned the Titans three points from a thrilling 38-38 draw at Clifton Lane.

The sides have already met once at Clifton Lane this term, Juan Pablo Socino kicking all of the Titans' points in a 12-11 win in the B&I Cup.

Bristol's match against Moseley on Saturday December 28th completes a hectic schedule of five games in 20 days for Andy Robinson's men.

Moseley achieved the double over Bristol last season to continue their fine record over the West Country outfit since the sides came together at this level.

Moseley have won five and drawn one of the last nine meetings.

Revenge will be on the minds of Leeds Carnegie's players when they take on Nottingham on Saturday 28th in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Carnegie began the season with an opening day 24-16 defeat against the Green & Whites at Castle Park, in what is widely viewed as their worst performance of the season.

But they have improved immeasurably since then and are currently on a four-game winning streak in all competitions.

For fans not travelling to Oxford, the London Welsh match will be shown live at The Orange Tree via Sky Sports.

Tickets for the London Welsh clash can be bought online here.

Directions to the Kassam Stadium can be found here.

Round 11 fixtures (December 21-28)

Saturday December 21

Moseley v Jersey RFC, KO 15:00

Ealing Trailfinders v Bristol Rugby, KO 15:00

London Welsh v London Scottish, KO 17:00 (Live on Sky Sports HD)

Thursday December 26

Rotherham Titans v Bedford Blues

Cornish Pirates v Plymouth Albion

Saturday December 28

Leeds Carnegie v Nottingham Rugby, KO 14:00 (Live on Sky Sports HD)

Bristol Rugby v Moseley, KO 15:00 

Brave Scots close gap on league leaders

Brave Scots close gap on league leaders

London Scottish moved up to second place in the Greene King IPA Championship this evening after a superb rearguard effort shocked league leaders London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium.

London Scottish moved up to second place in the Greene King IPA Championship this evening after a superb rearguard effort shocked league leaders London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium.

For long spells of this match London Welsh dominated both possession and territory but failed to penetrate a brilliant Scottish defence which was then streetwise with ball in hand marshelled first by Dan Newton then Lee Millar in the final quarter.

MPU

In recent weeks Scottish have been scoring plenty of tries but they reverted back to the hallmarks of the opening rounds of the season that saw their defence grind out wins.

The overhead conditions were terrible but the visitors seemed to adapt to the conditions far better and in the end a counter-attacking try from Miles Mantella seven minutes from time secured the win for James Buckland's side.

Alan Awcock did go over for Justin Burnell's team with the final move of the game.

However the conversion was missed meaning no losing bonus point as Scottish closed the gap at the top of the table to just four points courtesy of a 13-5 win.

The physicality of London Welsh was evident early on as the hosts put in some huge hits as they looked to impose themselves on their Exiles rivals.

Welsh thought they were in for the first score of the evening on 10 minutes when Seb Stegmann stepped off his wing, making his way through a gap, only for the ref to judge the pass to him forward.

Referee Ian Tempest then went to the video ref soon after as Welsh went close but Canadian Tyler Hotson had done enough to hold them out.

Welsh kept the pressure up with Gordon Ross missing a penalty from straight in front and the hosts were denied a try once again by the video referee when Mitch Lees knocked on in the build-up to Carl Kirwan crossing the line.

Ross missed a simpler kick midway through the half before a Scottish counter-attack started by Miles Mantella was thwarted as the Dragons turned ball over inside their own 22.

Right on half-time the visitors secured a penalty from a scrum on the Welsh 22 and fly-half Dan Newton made no mistake with the kick to ease his side into a narrow 3-0 interval lead.

It got better for James Buckland's side when Lee Millar, on for the injured Newton, kicked a penalty to make it 6-0 on 48 minutes.

With Ross having an off day with the boot, replacement Alex Davies took over kicking duties for Welsh, although he wasn't having much luck either, missing a simple penalty from straight in front.

Millar did likewise missing a tricky angled kick from all of 50 metres as the game became a battle of wills for much of the second half.

Welsh tried to muscle their way through London Scottish throughout but it was having little effect as the visitors blanket defence stood firm.

Oli Grove's ambitious penalty kick from inside his own half fell well short as the Scots looked to gain vital daylight between the teams.

This daylight did come eventually on 73 minutes when the league's top try scorer Miles Mantella picked up a loose ball inside his own 22 before running the length of the pitch to score.

Millar's conversion was successful and despite Awcock's try at the death, Davies's vital kick was blown off course.

London Scottish Supporters' man of the match: Jordi Pasqualin.

– Listen to Mike Friday's post match audio interview here.

– London Scottish's next home game is a B&I Cup clash against London Welsh on Saturday January 18th.

To book tickets and hospitality, click here.

London Welsh: 15, Seb Jewell; 14, Seb Stegmann; 13, Tom May (c); 12, Sonny Parker; 11, Nick Scott; 10, Gordon Ross; 9, Rob Lewis; 1, Alec Hepburn; 2, Nathan Vella; 3, Peter Edwards; 4, Ian Nimmo; 5, Pete Browne; 6, Mitch Lees; 7, Carl Kirwan; 8, Richard Thorpe.

Used replacements: 16. Nathan Morris; 17, Nathan Trevett; 18, James Tideswell; 21, Alex Davies; 22, Alan Awcock.

Unused replacements: 19, Ben West; 20, Ben Pienaar.

Tries: Awcock.

London Scottish: 15, Jim Thompson; 14, Mike Doneghan; 13, Oli Grove; 12, Andy Reay; 11, Miles Mantella; 10, Dan Newton, 9, Jordi Pasqualin; 1, Eric Fry; 2, Adam Kwasnicki; 3, Tomas Francis; 4, Tyler Hotson; 5, David Lyons; 6, Ben Russell; 7, Chevvy Pennycook; 8, Mark Bright (c).

Used replacements: 20, Lee Millar; 17, Mark Irish; 22, PJ Gidlow.

Replacements: 16, Jamie Kilbane; 18, Paul Spivey; 19, Tommy Spinks; 21, Peter Homan;

Tries: Mantella

Conversions: Millar

Penalties: Newton, Millar.

Referee: Ian Tempest

Assistant referee: Jonathan Healy and John Meredith. 

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