The British & Irish Cup qualifying stage reaches its climax on the weekend of 17th December, with a number of battles for supremacy in the six pools to be resolved.
BIC newcomers Cross Keys continue to take the competition by storm after achieving bonus- point wins in all three of their games so far.
Last Saturday’s 45-18 win over Neath sets the Gwent outfit up nicely for arguably their toughest fixture to date – away to 2010 champions Cornish Pirates on Sunday December 18th. The Pirates also boast an unblemished record in this season’s competition having won all three of their fixtures to top Pool 1.
Cross Keys are currently one of three teams flying the flag for Wales at the top of their respective pools, although Llanelli and Pontypridd’s position at the summit of Pool 4 and 5 is far more precarious than that of Greg Woods’ men.
Llanelli find themselves in a three- way battle with London Welsh and Melrose to qualify for the quarter- final stages, while last season’s semi- finalists Pontypridd are narrowly ahead of Yorkshire duo, Doncaster and Rotherham, despite having won only one of their three games to date.
Both Llanelli and Pontypridd face English opposition in Round 4, with Llanelli facing a tricky trip to Bedford while Pontypridd welcome Leeds to Sardis Road.
The remaining pools are both headed by Irish provinces. Leinster have 14 points from their three games to lead Pool 3 – one more than Ulster Ravens, who sit on top of Pool 6. Leinster are at home to London Welsh in the next round of fixtures, while a handful of Irish ‘Exiles’ wearing the colours of Rotherham await Ulster at Clifton Lane.
Aberavon v Esher
Ayr v Bristol Rugby
Bedford Blues V Llanelli
Currie v Nottingham Rugby
Doncaster Knights v Swansea
London Scottish v Melrose
Moseley v Munster A
Neath v Plymouth Albion
Pontypridd v Leeds Carnegie
Rotherham Titans v Ulster Ravens
Cornish Pirates v Cross Keys
Leinster A v London Welsh