NOTTINGHAM Rugby head coach Martin Haag will field an
exciting mix of youth and experience in his first competitive game
in charge of the Green and Whites tomorrow night (Friday, August
Joe Munro, the 21-year-old who has grown in confidence
throughout pre-season and impressed in both recent friendlies
against London Irish and Leicester Tigers, joins experienced
campaigner Tim Streather at centre against Leeds Carnegie at Meadow
Rhys Crane, who endured a nightmare first campaign with
Nottingham due to injury and only featured three times, will be let
loose on the wing with Mansfield teenager Ryan Hough earning his
first RFU Championship start.
The dual registered pairing of Jimmy Stevens, hooker, and Ryan
Bower, prop, have also been named as replacements for the match
branded as The Big Kick-Off.
Versatile Aussie Dan Montagu will slot in at lock on his return
to Meadow Lane after spending the past three seasons at
Championship rivals Bristol.
While there will be fresh faces across the park, the pack will
be led by the seasoned combination of loosehead Matt Parr, hooker
Joe Duffey and tighthead Michael Holford.
With the side being directed around the ground by
the halves pairing of Sean Romans and James Arlidge,
a partnership that grew in stature with every game last
season, coach Haag is excited by his sides opening night prospects
"It has been along pre-season, marked by significant change from
the top down, and finally the Big Kick-Off is here," Haag said.
"From the very first day that I arrived at the club I've been
impressed with the attitude and talent here, from the most senior
of players to the youngsters that are pushing hard for their spot
in the starting XV.
"Our captain Brent Wilson won't have any shortage of support and
voices out there with Nic Rouse, Sean Romans and James Arlidge all
taking a strong lead during pre-season and will be vital in helping
set a bench mark for all to follow.
"I'm really pleased to name the young guys like Ryan Hough and
Joe Munro because they have earned their starting spots with the
way they have performed for the past three months."
The inclusion of the dual registered Leicester players ensures
that competition for places are at an all-time premium.
Both Stevens and Bower featured for Nottingham in the
Championship last season and have been welcomed back, with the
closest of East Midlands' rugby neighbours continue to work closely
"We are delighted that competition for places has increased
through the dual registered programme with Leicester which is a
relationship that continues to grow," Haag
"It's fantastic that both Jimmy and Ryan are players who really
buy into what we are doing, which is hugely important to developing
team spirit and the way in which we play the game. And because they
are so familiar to their Nottingham teammates already they are well
respected by the squad."
For ticket details
click here or call the office on 0115 907 0070.
Nottingham Rugby v Leeds at Meadow Lane Stadium on
Friday, August 31 (7.45pm KO):1 Matt Parr 2 Joe Duffey 3
Michael Holford 4 Dan Montagu 5 Nic Rouse 6 Rupert Cooper 7 Brent
Wilson 8 Alex Shaw 9 Sean Romans 10 James Arlidge 11 Rhys Crane 12
Joe Munro 13 Tim Streather 14 Ryan Hough 15 Andrew Savage.
Replacement from:16 Jimmy Stevens 17 Ryan Bower
18 Joe Quinn 19 Tom Calladine 20 Finlay Barnham 21 Rory Lynn 22 Joe