The British and Irish Cup continues to suffer at the hands of clubs who treat it as a mere afterthought, but at Clifton Lane today, two teams will take to the field desperate to do well in the competition.
Rotherham Titans and Bedford Blues are the teams hoping for victory for differing reasons but the ultimate goal of success in the format is the primary motive.
Titans head coach Lee Blackett wants success on all fronts and a continuation of the momentum generated at the start of the Championship season.
His squad selection emphasises his determination to do well as he has only marginally reshuffled his options.
Blackett’s opposite number, Mike Rayer, has also selected a strong team as the Blues look to get their first win of the season after what has been a desperately poor start for a team that reached the promotion play-off final last term.
“The B&I Cup for us is a top priority,” said Titans scrum-half Charlie Mulchrone.
“There’s a bit of a bad stigma around the B&I that teams use it as a chance to rotate and put out a weakened team but not for us, we want to go after it.
“You don’t want to go into your next set of Championship games coming off the back of two losses. We want to keep the momentum going.
“We’re blessed with strength in depth so it’s not really rotation, it’s just playing players.”
Rotherham visit Connaught next week and also face Llanelli in their pool.
Leeds Carnegie have made 11 changes as they head to Bristol tomorrow for their B&I Cup opener. Despite wanting to maintain the feelgood factor built through a run of three straight wins, being strong come the end of the season when the race for the Premiership is on, is the club’s primary focus.
Head coach James Lowes has included four players who impressed with Leeds Metropolitan University in their recent Varsity win at Headingley Carnegie among them London-born winger Robbie Martey – man-of-the-match in the Varsity game – and No 8 Jarad Williams, who trained full time with Leeds Carnegie throughout the summer.