March 9, 2018
Nottingham concluded their British and Irish Cup campaign with a strong 26-17 bonus point victory over Ospreys Premiership Select on Friday night.
Jack Spittle opened the Green and Whites’ account in the first half, before man-of-the-match Murray McConnell, Tim Cardall and returnee Oli Evans all dotted down to secure the win.
Head Coach Ian Costello made a number of changes ahead of the Green and Whites’ final British and Irish Cup fixture, with Spittle and Joe Cobden being re-introduced along the backline, and Oli Evans making a return amongst the replacements.
Josh Poullet was handed the captaincy for the first time this competitive season, whilst Northampton Saints dual-registration signing George Furbank switched from wing to fullback and Will Millett changing to fly-half.
The Welsh side were first over the line at The Bay in terrible conditions, number 8 Morgan Morris sliding over from the back of a driving maul within the first ten minutes.
Nottingham responded soon after through 23-year-old Jack Spittle, who found himself on the end of a well-worked move out wide, before Ospreys took the lead once more through Morris again, with fly-half Luke Price managing to add the extras on this occasion.
It took just three minutes for scrum-half McConnell to push the hosts ahead after the break, showing good pace to sneak past the Ospreys defence and slide under the sticks, Millett continuing his perfect record from the tee to convert.
Ospreys were intuitive throughout, and with the conditions worsening, they fought back with another score to pull them back into contention. A well-weighted grubber kick landed perfectly into the arms of Joe Gatt who slid in uncontested. The score gave Ospreys the lead once more, but Nottingham fought hard in the final minutes.
Tim Cardall powered over from short range after sixty minutes before centre Evans marked his return in style, receiving the ball inside his own half before sprinting away and securing the game for the hosts.
The victory puts Nottingham third in the Pool, but Costello will be looking towards a run of tough Championship fixtures, including leaders Bristol and high-flying Ealing Trailfinders.
Next up at The Bay, the Green and Whites host Bedford Blues next Sunday (18th March), as part of the club’s Six Nations Beer Festival.
Discounted, advance standing and seated tickets can be purchased via www.nottinghamrugbydirect.co.uk until midnight on Saturday.
More information on the beer festival can be found by clicking here.
Report by Vinnie Berrington
Images courtesy of Richard Davies / Chud Photography