The 6 nation’s resumed to dominate the weekend’s rugby headlines and with only one English premiership game taking place there was little top flight action for our Irish players abroad. However there was still action in the second tier of English rugby with the championship play off’s as well as in the LV cup with a total of 10 Irish players involved.
In the Aviva Premiership, Northampton made the trip to Leeds Carnegie in the weekends only top flight fixture. James Downey and Roger Wilson, on his return to action following suspension, both played the full 80 minutes as the Saints won out 23-13 thanks to 18 points from Stephen Meyler.
In the LV= Cup semi final Tane Tu’ipulotu scored a last minute try to guide Newcastle in the final at the expense of Harlequins. Harlequins had looked set for a place in the final leading 20-16 until the intervention by Tu’ipulotu. Former Ulster prop John Andress played 67 minutes for Harlequins before being replaced. Newcastle will now meet Gloucester in next week’s final after they beat the Newport Dragons 45-17 with winger Charlie Sharples scoring four tries.
The Championship in England has now moved to play off sections and there are a number of Irish players involved in the action with Worchester the favourites to make the step back up to the Premiership. We start our review at Bristol where Jack Tovey played the full match on the win as they went down 44-15 to Worchester in their Pool “A” Championship encounter. Irish international Neil Best, who has won 18 caps, played the full game for Worchester.
In Pool B, Cornish Pirates beat Doncaster 33-25 to stay second in the table a point behind Bedford in the table. Winger Matty Williams was the only Irish man on show, with the speedy winger failing to add to his 14 tries this season. There were no Irishmen involved as Bedford stayed top thanks to a comprehensive 58-15 win over Rotherham.
In the relegation Pool C, Locke Robin Copeland played the full 80 minutes as Plymouth Albion beat former Irish international Kevin Magg’s Moseley 37-17 to stay top of the table while Esher beat Birmingham and Solihull 22-30 to join Plymouth at the top of the Pool C table. John Downey and Gerrard Mullen both started for Esher with Downey coming off after 53 minutes. While Rob Connolly played the full 80 minutes for Birmingham with fellow Irishman Ross Noonan playing the final 20 minutes.