- Nottingham set for third match in seven days
- Blues looking to secure second league position
Photo: RFU Archive
Nottingham Rugby head to Goldington Road to complete their regular season campaign against second placed Bedford Blues on Saturday.
The Green and Whites are in a good run of form, having won their last three league matches despite having to play three matches in seven days due to the bad weather.
Nottingham's Director of Rugby Glenn Delaney changed his entire starting line-up for the visit of Leeds Carnegie on Wednesday and his team didn’t disappoint as they put in a robust defensive display and took their chances to record a 24-11 victory.
Delaney said: “It was a good win against Leeds in difficult conditions. The strong wind meant that we had to play a tight game and it made life difficult for the kickers. Our set piece was very strong and that gave us a good platform to control the match.”
Brent Wilson, who captained Nottingham on Wednesday, put in one of his best displays for the club.
He said: “It was a tough match. The wind made things tricky and it was definitely a case of grinding out a result given the conditions. After the brilliant start given to us by Andrew Savage’s try, we never really looked back, despite them getting close on the scoreboard at the beginning of the second half.
“We had some close moments in defence, but the lads dug in really well. Whenever Leeds were in a good position our defence caused them to make errors. I’m proud of the way we played and we’re now ready for the test that Bedford will bring.”
Bedford recorded a good away win against Moseley in their last outing and currently lie second in the table on points difference. They will be looking to secure their position heading into the play-offs as they can still be caught by Cornish Pirates and London Welsh.
We picked up an important win last weekend - Larkin
Looking ahead to the game against Nottingham, Blues Backs Coach Paul Larkin said: “With the injuries that we have to Mark, Dave and Handre along and Josh Bassett being away with the England Under 20s, we really are down to the bare bones in the back three and we’ve had to do a bit of shifting around.
“We picked up an important win last weekend and we are looking for a good performance against Nottingham on Saturday as we try to build some momentum as head into the play-offs. We also want to ensure that we give our home fans something to cheer about.”
The Blues make nine changes to the team which defeated Moseley last weekend with James Pritchard, Jake Sharp, Nico Steenkamp, Neil Cochrane, Phil Boulton and Paul Tupai all returning to the starting line-up while Brendan Burke returns to outside centre, Henry Staff moves to the wing and Alex Rae swaps the second row for blindside flanker.
15. James Pritchard (c); 14. Henry Staff, 13. Brendan Burke, 12. Ian Vass, 11. Ollie Dodge; 10. Jake Sharp, 9. Luke Baldwin; 1. Nico Steenkamp, 2. Neil Cochrane3. Phil Boulton, 4. Mike Howard, 5. Paul Tupai, 6. Alex Rae, 7. Darren Fox, 8. Jonathon Fisher
Replacements: 16. Chris Locke, 17. Sam Walsh, 18. Ben Cooper, 19. Sean Tomes, 20. Don Barrell, 21. Darryl Veenendaal, 22. Jamie Lennard.
15 David Jackson; 14 Mike Penn, 13 Ayoola Erinle, 12 Joe Munro, 11 Dante Mama; 10 Kieran Hallett, 9 Nathan Jones; 1 Matt Parr 2 Matt Holloway 3 Ben Prescott 4 Craig Hammond (c) 5 Callum Green 6 Rupert Cooper 7 Phil Eggleshaw 8 Alex Shaw
Replacements: 16 Ollie Taylor 17 Matt Shields 18 Sione Kalamafoni 19 Nic Rouse 20 Finlay Barnham 21 James Arlidge 22 Juan Socino