Derby Day in RFU Championship as Ealing cross Thames to face Scottish


Ealing Trailfinders are looking forward to the short trip on Friday night to Richmond, where they face hosts London Scottish at the Athletic Ground.

Despite being deep into January, the sides have not met yet this season but Ealing in third place will start favourite against the seventh-placed Scots.

As well as league placings, history also favours the Trailfinders. Last season they did the double over their neighbours winning 31-36 at the Scottish ground in Richmond and 34-26 in the home game in West London.

To history, you can add form.

A last-minute try by Scott Tolmie denied the Scots a win in a very entertaining game at Coventry last weekend with the Midlanders winning 36-30. That was preceded for Scottish by a 17-24 narrow home loss to Bedford.

Ealing, however, go into the Friday night encounter on the back of two wins and they have already named their team to take on the Exiles in the local derby. This confidence is neither surprising nor unwarranted after those victories in their last two games with wins over Nottingham and Ampthill in the last fortnight.

There are three changes to the starting line-up after the 11-try performance to overwhelm Ampthill last weekend which ended in a 77-26 win. Most remarkably, nine different men touched down for the Green and Whites. It’s worth noting that Ampthill had only conceded 199 points in their previous eight games, at an average of below 25 per game. The Trailfinders trebled that in their blitz.

This followed a tighter 18-10 win in Nottingham. The West Londoners have in fact won seven of their last eight, amassing 359 points in the process, just short of an incredible 45 per game

Team news

Two of Ealing’s three changes are upfront, Sam Dickinson and Kieran Murphy and there is one alteration to the backline, where Craig Willis is recalled.

Seeking their third win in a row, Ealing continue with Jordan Els, Alun Walker and Elliot Millar Mills in heir powerhouse front row.

Dickinson comes into the second-row alongside James Cannon. Murphy is back in the number six shirt, with Jordy Reid and captain Rayn Smid also in the back-row.

Jordan Burns keeps his place at scrum-half whilst Willis is the third returnee taking his place at fly-half. Pat Howard and Lewis Jones will be the centres, with an unchanged back-three of Reon Joseph, Elijah Niko and Tommy Bell.

Matt Cornish, Jake Ellwood and George Davis provide a front-row alternative from the bench, with Ben West, Adam Korczyk and Shane Buckley covering the rest of the pack. Nathan Fowles provides scrum-half back-up, and Steven Shingler completes the matchday squad.

For the Scots, coach Graham Steadman has made two changes to the starting line-up.

Ryan Eveleigh comes in for an injured Jordan Brodley at loose-head prop. The only other change comes in the backs where Craig Duncan makes his first start on the left wing, replacing Jonas Mikalcius who also suffered an injury last time out.

Billy Harding, Phil Cringle, Mark Bright, Will Magie and Ollie Allsopp, plus Nodar Cheishvili, who returns having spent two-days this week with the Georgian international side ahead of the Tier 2 Six Nations kicking off, will all look to make an impact off the bench.

Joining them are Lewis Holsey (Worcester Warriors) and Rory Brand (London Irish) who come in on loan.

Coaches’ view

Forwards Coach Glen Townson knows that the Trailfinders face a tough assignment on Friday evening as they head south off the river over the beautifully appointed Kew Bridge.

“We always have great battles with London Scottish so it’s a game that we are very much looking forward to. Away from home you have to do the tough stuff and roll up your sleeves which is exactly what we’ll need on Friday.

“The Athletic Ground is a great place to play so we’ll go there and be excited about a local derby as we look to keep our recent form going.”

Steadman told the club website:

“We’re coming up against a team who are in very good form having posted 70 plus points against Ampthill last time out. They’re going to be in a confident mood and approaching this game with a great deal of freedom, so defence has certainly been a focus for us this week.

“In balance with our defensive attack, we need to be mindful that we can score points too. Having scored thirty points on the road away to Coventry is no mean feat, and we know we can achieve this against most teams.”

He agreed Scottish entered the home tie as underdogs:

This Friday we go into the game with the underdog tag against a top side. However, we’re very much looking forward to the match and I’m sure the boys will put in a top performance and do themselves proud.”

He concluded:

“Having looked at the forecast it’s all set to be a very chilly evening, I would say to the supporters get well wrapped up and let’s hope that the boys can warm you up with a very good performance.”


London Scottish:

15. Luke Hibberd, 14. Rob Stevenson, 13. Bobby Beattie, 12. Dan Barnes, 11. Craig Duncan, 10. Harry Sheppard, 9. Josh Barton, 1 Ryan Eveliegh, 2. James Malcolm, 3. Kyle Whyte, 4. Alex Toolis, 5. Matas Jurevicus, 6. Luke Frost, 7. Lewis Wynne ©, 8. Matt Eliet

Replacements: 16. Billy Harding, 17. Lewis Holsey, 18. Phil Cringle, 19. Nodar Cheishvili, 20. Mark Bright, 21. Rory Brand, 22. Will Magie, 23. Ollie Allsopp

Ealing Trailfinders:

15 Tommy Bell 14 Elijah Niko 13 Lewis Jones 12 Pat Howard 11 Reon Joseph 10 Craig Willis 9 Jordan Burns 1 Jordan Els 2 Alun Walker 3 Elliot Millar Mills 4 Sam Dickinson 5 James Cannon 6 Kieran Murphy 7 Jordy Reid 8 Rayn Smid ©


16 Matt Cornish 17 Jake Ellwood 18 George Davis 19 Ben West 20 Adam Korczyk 21 Nathan Fowles 22 Steven Shingler 23 Shane Buckley


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