Second rower Toby Freeman is one of four changes to Nottingham Rugby
Second rower Toby Freeman is one of four changes to Nottingham Rugby's starting line-up, for Friday night's big Greene King IPA Championship fixture against London Irish at Lady Bay.
The Green and Whites host the currently unbeaten league leaders, fresh from last weekend's gutsy 22-21 victory over the Reds in Jersey.
With Freeman now fully recovered from an injury sustained in Nottingham's opening game of the season against London Scottish, head coach Ian Costello has opted for experience over youth in the pack, with Joe Green now featuring amongst the replacements.
Prop Tom Heard comes in at tighthead, after scoring a try in each of his last three appearances, despite one of those scores being incorrectly credited to Ben Morris. Dual-registered Northampton Saint Adam Parkins is selected on the bench.
Hooker Jimmy Stevens will also be relishing his starting place, as he prepares to face his old club, after joining the Green and Whites from the Exiles in the summer.
In-form scrum half Murray McConnell comes in at #9, replacing the absent Darryl Veenendaal, whilst James Stephenson also returns to the starting XV, coming in on the right wing for the missing Sam Yawayawa.
Young scrum half Jacob Nash is added on the replacements bench, with TJ Harris, Harry Morley, Matt Everard and Will Millett all keeping their places in the 22-man squad.
It has been over 20 years since the two sides last met in a competitive fixture, with Irish coming out on top in a 39-27 home win, back in February 1996. Tries from Richard Bygrave and Richard Byrom, along with some excellent kicking from Simon Hodgkinson, were not enough for the Green and Whites on the day.
The last victory for Nottingham over the Exiles, was back in April 1995 at Ireland Avenue, where scores from Chris Gray and Ian Stent, helped the Green and Whites triumph, by a 22-11 scoreline.
Team to face London Irish: 15) Billy Robinson, 14) James Stephenson, 13) Oli Evans, 12) Vili Hakalo, 11) Calum Hall, 10) Lawrence Rayner, 9) Murray McConnell, 1) Tom West, 2) Jimmy Stevens, 3) Tom Heard, 4) Toby Freeman, 5) Ben Morris (C), 6) Rob Langley, 7) Jordan Coghlan, 8) Josh Poullet. Replacements: 16) TJ Harris, 17) Harry Morley, 18) Adam Parkins, 19) Joe Green, 20) Matt Everard, 21) Jacob Nash, 22) Will Millett.
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