Last season’s British and Irish Cup finalists Doncaster Knights begin their campaign in Jersey today.
They do so having made a bright start to life in the Championship, last week’s surprise victory at promotion favourites Bristol one of the results of the season.
“We are in a really good position having picked up 31 points, compared to 13 at this stage last season,” said director of rugby Clive Griffiths.
“The league is obviously our top priority but we also want to do well in the B&I Cup as well. The key thing is keeping a clean bill of health once we get our injured players back.”
Just five players survive from last Friday’s win at Ashton Gate with Mat Clark, Tyson Lewis, Declan Cusack, Alex Shaw and Matt Challinor all retaining starting berth, if not necessarily in the same positions.
Jim Wigglesworth makes his debut at full-back after joinging from Bedford in the summer.
“There are players who haven’t been getting much game-time who need to play and our selection will mirror that,” added Griffiths.
Rotherham Titans welcome the side that ended their interest at the quarter-final stage of the British and Irish Cup last year – Leinster A.
Mark Jones, the Titans head coach who makes his debut in the competition, said: “There’s no doubt that the level of opposition in this tournament is very good and that will breath a new lease of life into us and it gives us an opportunity to go and play a cross-border competition.
“Leinster are a quality side, they’ve won the competition twice in the last three years and we know they will be serious about doing well again.”
Seventeen of the 22 players involved in the league win at Nottingham will feature in what is a strong line-up.