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1996–97 Courage League National Division Two

1996–97 Courage League National Division Two
Countries  England
Champions Richmond (1st title)
Runners-up Newcastle Falcons
Relegated Rugby Lions and Nottingham
Matches played 132
Highest attendance 8,000 Coventry at home to Newcastle Falcons on 2 November 1996
Top point scorer Ireland Simon Mason,
(Richmond) 334 points
Top try scorer England John Bentley,
(Newcastle Falcons) 23 tries[1]

The 1996–97 Courage League National Division Two was the tenth full season of rugby union within the second tier of the English league system, currently known as the RFU Championship and was season that saw professional rugby openly introduced into the English game. Joining the eight teams who participated in the division in 1995–96 were Richmond, Coventry, Rugby and Rotherham all of whom were promoted from National Division Three with no teams coming down from National Division One due to league restructuring. The league was sponsored by Courage Brewery for the tenth consecutive year.

The top two teams, Richmond and Newcastle Falcons were automatically promoted, and for the first time there were play–offs between the third and fourth placed teams, and the ninth and tenth placed teams in Division One, for a place in the top tier for season 1997-98.[2] The Division Two sides played at home first with the winners of the two matches, on aggregate score, playing in the top division the following season. Coventry and Bedford both failed to win promotion. Rugby Lions and Nottingham were relegated to Division 3 for the 1997–98 season. Last season Nottingham finished in the bottom two and escaped relegation due to the division being increased from ten clubs to twelve clubs. This season they were not so lucky and next season will be their first in Division Three.[3]

Participating teams

1996–97 Courage League National Division Two is located in England
London
London
Locations of the 1996–97 Courage League National Division Two teams
Greater London Courage League National Division Two
Greater London Courage League National Division Two clubs
Team Stadium Capacity City/Area
Bedford Goldington Road 7,000 Bedford, Bedfordshire
Blackheath Rectory Field 6,000 Greenwich, London
Coventry Coundon Road 9,000+ Coventry, West Midlands
London Scottish Athletic Ground, Richmond 4,500 Richmond, London
Moseley The Reddings 10,000 (est) Birmingham, West Midlands
Newcastle Falcons Kingston Park 10,000 Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear
Nottingham Ireland Avenue 4,950 Beeston, Nottinghamshire
Richmond Athletic Ground, Richmond 4,500 Richmond, London
Rotherham Clifton Lane 2,500 Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Rugby Webb Ellis Road 1,000 Rugby, Warwickshire
Wakefield College Grove 3,000 Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Waterloo St Anthony's Road 9,000 Blundellsands, Merseyside

Table

1996–97 Courage League National Division Two Table[2]
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Difference Points
1 Richmond 22 19 2 1 986 410 576 40
2 Newcastle Falcons 22 19 1 2 1255 346 909 39
3 Coventry 22 16 1 5 738 394 344 33
4 Bedford 22 15 0 7 720 482 238 30
5 London Scottish 22 11 0 11 549 568 –19 22
6 Wakefield 22 11 0 11 504 557 –53 22
7 Rotherham 22 10 0 12 525 661 –136 20
8 Moseley 22 9 0 13 492 741 –249 18
9 Waterloo 22 8 0 14 506 661 –155 16
10 Blackheath 22 7 0 15 412 641 –229 14
11 Rugby Lions 22 3 0 19 317 1060 –743 6
12 Nottingham 22 2 0 20 344 827 –483 4
  • Points are awarded as follows:
  1. two points for a win
  2. one point for a draw
  3. no points for a loss
  • If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
  1. difference between points for and against
  2. total number of points for
Green background are promotion places. Buff background are promotion play–off places. Pink background are relegation places.

Promotion play–offs

For the first time play–offs took place between the third and fourth placed teams in Division Two and the ninth and tenth placed teams in Division One. The play–offs followed a 4th v 9th, 3rd v 10th system - with the games being played over two legs and the second tier team playing at home in the first leg.[3]

First leg

7 May 1997
Bedford 11 – 20 Bristol
7 May 1997
Coventry 16 – 14 London Irish

Second leg

11 May 1997
Bristol 19 – 12 Bedford
  • Bristol won 39 – 23 on aggregate to retain their place in Division One
11 May 1997
London Irish 28 – 7 Coventry
  • London Irish won 42 – 23 on aggregate to retain their place in Division One

Individual Statistics

  • Note that points scorers includes tries as well as conversions, penalties and drop goals.

Season records

See also

References

  1. ^ Stephen McCormack, ed. (2000). The Official RFU Club Directory 2000–2001. Harpenden: Queen Anne Press. 
  2. ^ a b "Courage League Championship 1996/97". Moseley Rugby Club. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Mick Cleary and John Griffiths, ed. (1997). Rothmans Rugby Union Yearbook 1997–98. London: Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 0 7472 7732 X. 
  4. ^ "National Two 96/97 Leading points scorers". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 1997. 
  5. ^ "National Two 96/97 Leading try scorers". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 1997. 
  6. ^ "National Two 96/97 Most tries in a match (Team)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 1997. 
  7. ^ "National Two 96/97 Most conversions in a match (Team)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 1997. 
  8. ^ "National Two 96/97 Most penalties in a match (Team)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 1997. 
  9. ^ "National Two 96/97 Most drop goals in a match (Team)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 1997. 
  10. ^ "National Two 96/97 Most points in a match (Player)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 1997. 
  11. ^ "National Two 96/97 Most tries in a match (Player)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 1997. 
  12. ^ "National Two 96/97 Most conversions in a match (Player)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 1997. 
  13. ^ "National Two 96/97 Most penalties in a match (Player)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 1997. 
  14. ^ "National Two 96/97 Most drop goals in a match (Player)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 1997. 
  15. ^ "Rugby Union: Harris has the drop on tough Newcastle". The Independent. 4 November 1996. 
  16. ^ "Falcons in Division Two 1996/97". thesouthstandchoir.wordpress.com. 9 August 2012. 
  17. ^ "National Two 96/97 Home attendance". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 1997.