- Bedford Blues and Nottingham Rugby announce starting line-ups
- Delaney relishing a tough opening fixture against last year's semi-finalists
Photo: Getty Images
Bedford Blues and Nottingham Rugby have revealed the teams that will take to the field in the opening round of the RFU Championship season at Meadow Lane.
The Blues’ Head Coach Mike Rayer has included four summer signings, whilst back-row forward Alex Rae will captain the side.
Speaking ahead of the game Rayer said: “I’ve been really pleased with the squad’s preparation for the coming season and with such a strong and competitive group of players, I’ve had plenty of headaches when it comes to selection.
“We always know that a trip to Meadow Lane is a tough affair and I’m sure that Glenn Delaney has his team well drilled for this opening encounter, but I’m confident in the players that I have and we are all looking forward to getting the season underway this weekend.”
Led by Craig Hammond, the home side will be determined to capitalise on a strong pre-season campaign that has seen Nottingham put in solid performances against Harlequins and Leicester Tigers.
Nottingham’s Director of Rugby Glenn Delaney said: “We want to start well at home and build some momentum, it’s a very tough challenge first up but one that we are excited about. Bedford were an outstanding team last season who deserved a place in the final. Their heroics at Worcester in the semi-final prove that the Championship is a great competition.
“We’ve had a good pre-season with a lot of new faces integrating well into the squad. It should be a great match”
Nottingham Rugby vs. Bedford Blues, Sunday September 4, KO 1500.
Starting XV: David Jackson; Jack Cobden, Ayoola Erinlie, Juan Pablo Socino, Tim Streather; Kieran Hallett, Nathan Jones; Michael Holford, Jo Duffey, Ryan Bower, Lee Morley, Nic Rouse, Craig Hammond (c), Phil Eggleshaw, Alex Shaw
Replacements: Charlie Clare, Matt Sheilds, Rupert Coope, Tom Calladine, Finlay Barnham, Joe Cobden, Joe Munro
Starting XV: Brendan Burke; David Vincent, Ollie Dodge, Tom Bedford, Handre Schmidt, Jamie Lennard; Darryl Veenendaal, Sam Walsh; Neil Cochrane, Phil Boulton, Mike Howard, Paul Tupai, Alex Rae (c), Sacha Harding, Jon Fisher
Replacements: Chris Locke, Dan Seal, Ricky Reeves, Sean Tomes, Stefan Liebenberg, Jake Sharp, Mark Kohler