Costello makes raft of changes for big cup kick-off
Nottingham Rugby Head Coach Ian Costello has made a raft of changes to his team for Sunday’s British & Irish Cup opener against Bedford Blues at The Bay (3:00pm kick-off).
Just five of the starting line-up from last weekend’s 34-31 Greene King IPA Championship victory at Cornish Pirates have retained their places in Sunday’s starting XV with Jimmy Stevens, Tim Cardall, Vili Hakalo, Joe Cobden and Will Millett all getting the nod from Costello.
Having recovered from a pre-season injury, prop Kieran Davies (pictured) makes his first appearance of the campaign with dual-registered Northampton Saints duo, flanker Will Allman (20) and lock Alex Moon (21), both making their competitive debuts for the Green and Whites.
Back rower George Cox and centre Calum Hall also look set to make their first appearances of the season, having both been named amongst the replacements.
Despite this being the first meeting between the two sides in this competition, the teams have plenty of history behind them, having met on 104 previous occasions between November 1893 and March this year. The Blues have the edge over the Green and Whites in terms of victories, 66 in total compared to Nottingham’s 33.
Both sides came away with away wins in their two league meetings last season with Nottingham coming out on top of a topsy-turvy affair at Goldington Road last November after tries from David Williams, Darryl Veenendaal, Jimmy Stevens, Jack Spittle, Murray McConnell and Toby Freeman sealed a 36-34 victory.
The Blues then exacted their revenge, in the Green and White’s final home match of 2016/17 as tries from Jimmy Stevens, Jordan Coghlan and Oli Evans couldn’t prevent a 24-21 defeat at Lady Bay.
Team to face Bedford Blues: 15) Will Millett, 14) David Williams, 13) Joe Cobden, 12) Vili Hakalo, 11) Alex Goble, 10) Gearoid Lyons, 9) Murray McConnell; 1) Kieran Davies, 2) Jimmy Stevens, 3) David Langley, 4) Tim Cardall, 5) Alex Moon, 6) Will Allman, 7) Matt Everard (C), 8) Josh Poullet. Replacements: 16) James Penman, 17) Aniseko Sio, 18) Tom Holmes, 19) George Cox, 20) Darryl Veenendaal, 21) Oli Evans, 22) Calum Hall.
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