Lyons starts Friday night derby clash

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Nottingham Rugby Head Coach Ian Costello has made six changes to his starting line-up for Friday night’s big Greene King IPA Championship local derby with Doncaster Knights at The Bay (7:45pm kick-off).

Amongst the changes is fly half Gearoid Lyons, who makes his first start for the Green & Whites, since their opening day of the season victory over London Scottish, back in September 2016. The 21 year-old Irishman has been sidelined for most of the season with injury, but has featured as a replacement in Nottingham’s previous two outings.

Other returnees to the starting XV include lock Morgan Eames, who replaces the absent Toby Freeman, hooker TJ Harris, who makes straight swap with Jimmy Stevens, who drops to the bench, and scrum half Darryl Veenendaal, who comes in for fellow #9 Murray McConnell.

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Joe Cobden makes a welcome return on the left wing, with fellow winger Calum Hall switching to the right hand side. Dual-registered Leicester Tigers centre Charlie Thacker is also included, after last featuring for Nottingham on New Year’s Eve, whilst David Williams switches from the wing to full back.

On the bench, both Tom Heard and Tom Holmes will be itching for some first team action, whilst Worcester Warriors’ dual-reg fly half Tiff Eden returns to The Bay for the first time since the Green and Whites’ first game of the campaign.

Costello’s men know that anything other than a victory would seriously dent their play-off ambitions, with Nottingham currently sitting 8 points off fourth-placed Ealing Trailfinders and 12 points off Friday’s opponents Doncaster, in third spot.

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Tries from McConnell and Hall had given Nottingham an early advantage in the previous meeting between the two sides this season, back in October, but having picked up three yellow cards in the space of 30 minutes, the Knights then charged to a 26-21 victory at Castle Park.

Team to face Doncaster Knights:
15) David Williams
14) Calum Hall
13) Charlie Thacker
12) Vili Hakalo
11) Joe Cobden
10) Gearoid Lyons
9) Darryl Veenendaal
1) Kieran Davies
2) TJ Harris
3) Ben Hooper
4) Ben Morris (C)
5) Morgan Eames
6) Rob Langley
7) Jordan Coghlan
8) Shane Buckley

Replacements:
16) Jimmy Stevens
17) Harry Morley
18) Tom Heard
19) Tom Holmes
20) Matt Everard
21) Murray McConnell
22) Tiff Eden

Advanced seated and discounted standing tickets remain available to purchase via the club’s online ticketing website until midnight on Thursday 16th February.

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