Edinburgh Napier Knights vs Northumbria Mustangs
The Knights did not get off to the start they wanted in their debut to Div One, after a 35-12 loss to their western rivals, The Glasgow Tigers. The boys from Edinburgh showed flashes of being able to compete against a stellar Glasgow side, and Napier will be looking to capitalise on home field advantage at ‘the swamp’ against a Northumbria side who dismantled former conference champions, Hull Sharks, in Week One.
ENK’s defence, despite having 35 points scored against them against Glasgow, showed themselves to be a solid union notching 4 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries on the day. If The Knights offence can take advantage of the opportunities their defence is giving them, we should be in for a great game!
The Northumbria side will be making their first trip north of the wall. Last time the two teams met was in 2014, at Napier, where the game went to triple overtime – Northumbria narrowly coming out on top and securing their place in Division One following the new league realignment. They’ll look to team captain Oliver Monoghan to lead the team to their second conference victory.
Northumbria will be rested after a bye week, hunting for a second victory and looking to go one step closer to the Conference Crown. The Knights will be hoping to notch the first win on their Div One belts.
It’s all to play for this week North of the wall and as the only Northern conference fixture on this week we are sure the other teams will have all eyes fixed on this one. Napier will need to improve on their 65 offensive yards they put up against Glasgow if they are wanting to compete this Sunday… But we just don’t see them having the firepower to keep up with the Mustangs at this point in the season.
By Andy Loch
LJMU Fury vs Sheffield Sabres
LJMU Just held on to beat the newly promoted Gryphons last week, in the first part of what we believe will be the deciding factor of which team is relegated out of this division. Whilst they were able to score a healthy 35 points, they shipped 29 on defence against a team that had barely scored in their last three competitive outings.
This week will show if that was just an anomaly for the Fury D, or whether they will actually struggle to keep other teams out of the end zone.
The Sabres threw up the first upset in the conference this year, managing to secure the win against the Rams who have had the better of them in their meetings over the last two years. Whilst the Sabres didn’t struggle to score last season, their defence was taken to the cleaners on multiple occasions, so keeping the Rams to 16 points is a huge positive for them.
We’re thinking Sabres will win this one and move on with confidence as they become the biggest threat to Hallam’s march towards another conference title.
Sheffield Hallam Warriors vs UCLan Rams
These two teams split the wins in the conference last year, and both made it to play off Football, where UCLan were hoping to draw the conference Champs again as they believed they had the beating of them.
Ultimately Hallam turned it on in the first round of the playoffs and advanced at the expense of the Rams.
Hallam have started the season in typical fashion running up a score on the newly promoted Gryphons, and once again look like the team to beat in the conference. Hallam have only lost once to teams in this conference in the last three years (UCLan last season). They have managed to come to terms with the loss of HC Richard Batty, and will be full of confidence for the remaining regular season games.
UCLan were a shock loser last week, as the Sabres regained some form of yesteryear, and picked up their first win of the campaign at the first opportunity. As one of the programmes that we believed to be building into a strong and stable Division One team, with the opportunity to challenge the likes of Hallam, Nottingham and NTU, they will be disappointed to fall at the first hurdle.
They have time to rectify the situation but it will mean having to take the scalp of Hallam in one of their two meetings this season.
Hallam will have too much for the Rams in this one.
By Erick Jupp
Leicester Longhorns vs NTU Renegades
The Leicester Longhorns opened their campaign last weekend against the University of Nottingham, and even though they ended up losing 29-8, the game was never out of reach for them and there were positives for the newly promoted side heading into their next bunch of fixtures.
A setback for the Longhorns, however, was that throughout the game, they picked up some major injuries to some key players in their line-up. Tristan Woolcock is out for the BUCS season, with a tibia and fibula fracture, Matt Turnicliffe dislocated his shoulder and will probably be out up until Christmas and Akhil Sebastian fractured his Talus and will be out for six weeks at least. All of us here at DC join the #BritballNation in wishing those players a speedy recovery and hope to see them back on the field as soon as possible.
The NTU Renegades are fresh off a bye week heading into this game and they will be looking to pick up on where they left off, following their 45-0 blowout win over the Warwick Wolves in their opening fixture. Their offence moved the ball well, defence were awarded a shutout, and they topped it all off with some big plays made on special teams.
As for the match-up, the Longhorns are at home, and will look to keep the game close again when they square off against another one of the favourites for promotion to the Premiership, but the Renegades might just have too much power in their roster for the Longhorns to deal with.