Nottingham Rugby Head Coach Ian Costello has named a strong, yet experimental line-up for their friendly fixture against the Army at The Bay, on Saturday afternoon (12:30pm kick-off).
The Green and Whites will be welcoming the Army to Lady Bay, for the first time, having last hosted them at Ireland Avenue back in 1977. The fixture is part of the Army’s warm-up preparations for their annual British Army vs British Navy fixture on Saturday 5th May, and should see a number of players looking to stake a claim in the Army side for their big clash at Twickenham.
Nottingham’s starting XV has been selected from regular first team and squad players, whilst an extended substitutes bench also opens the door for fringe youngsters, currently playing with Nottingham Trent University, to showcase their talents.
A solid-looking pack sees club captain Matt Everard return at openside flanker, whilst Shane Buckley reverts from number 8 to blindside, allowing Josh Poullet to drop in.
Regular #10 Tiff Eden has been rested for the fixture, giving Will Millett his first start at fly half this season, whilst Darryl Veenendaal starts ahead of Murray McConnell at scrum half.
Playing at outside centre for the first time in a Nottingham jersey, Sean Scanlon’s usual fullback slot is taken by NTU student Will Sutton, whilst Tongan international Vili Hakalo and NTU scholar Alex Goble are brought in at inside centre and right wing respectively.
Amongst the replacements are a no-fewer than seven Nottingham Trent University youngsters, including Jake Farnworth, Cecil MacCarthy, Jamie Jack, Alex Crocker, Max Craven, John Hargreaves and Caetano Branco.
Nottingham were guests of the Army in Vilamoura, Portugal, for a friendly encounter last season, as Ian Costello’s side ran out 43-31 victors in the April Algarve sunshine, thanks to a brace of tries from Billy Robinson, single scores from Jordan Coghlan, TJ Harris, Tom Heard and Murray McConnell, and a penalty try.
Team to face the Army:
15) Will Sutton
14) Alex Goble
13) Sean Scanlon
12) Vili Hakalo
11) David Williams
10) Will Millett
9) Darryl Veenendaal
1) James Penman
2) Ben Brownlie
3) Ben Hooper
4) Tim Cardall
5) Danny Qualter
6) Shane Buckley
7) Matt Everard (C)
8) Josh Poullet
The match will be completed in time for the day’s NatWest Six Nations matches to be shown live on the giant Archer’s Bar screen, with Wales vs Scotland kicking off at 2:15pm, followed by France vs Ireland at 4:45pm. Both sets of players will be in the bar post-match, watching the games and enjoying a drink or two with supporters.
Entry to the game is free to all Nottingham Rugby season ticket holders, and £5 for adults and £1 for juniors (aged 16 and under). Anyone wishing just to watch the Six Nations matches, can gain free entry to Archers Bar from 1:15pm.
All season ticket holders are guaranteed their usual seats, with any other supporters wishing to sit down can do so for not extra cost, subject to availability.
Standing match tickets can be purchased in advance, until midnight on Friday, via www.nottinghamrugbydirect.co.uk, with print at home and collect on the day options available.