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Haag: Nottingham’s spirit key to big finish

MARTIN Haag says character will count for everything in the final three months of the season as Nottingham aim to extend their Cup run and push for the RFU Championship play-offs.

Haag at Rotherham

ALL FOR ONE: Head coach Martin Haag says team spirit is key to Nottingham's continued success.

The Green and Whites boss heralded the spirit of his side after their remarkable come-from-behind bonus-point win over Rotherham at the weekend which sent them into second place on the league ladder.

With five of Nottingham's remaining nine league games away from home, Haag is demanding more of the same.

"There is a lot of tough rugby still to be played this season, and more of it will be played away from home, so that character we showed is vitally important," Haag said.

"Our team values are about team spirit - trust, honesty and professionalism are things that come into that.

"That character is what I was most pleased to see in the last two games. First, we produced it against Moseley at home -when we didn't play well but won - and Rotherham away - where we were down 12-8 and came-back by winning some territory and possession, stayed calm and were clinical at the end.

"At the start of the season, when we lost to the Titans in the third game, we were off the boil, they played better and we didn't know how to deal with it.

"Sometimes it comes down to who wants it more and we have shown just how hungry we are."

It is a mentality that will serve Nottingham well at Castle Park on Saturday (January 12) when they meet Doncaster in the penultimate British and Irish Cup group game.

It is a must-win encounter for the East Midlands club as they look to challenge for a place in the next round of the cross-border competition.

"We want to qualify and that makes this a hugely important weekend for us," Haag said.

"We win and we stand a chance of going through by then beating Llandovery the following week at Meadow Lane.

"Doncaster are going to be up for this and we are going to have to match them for desire and show our quality."

Nottingham's return to Meadow Lane to host explosive back-to-back meetings, starts with the Welsh Principality side in the Cup before the Sky Sport cameras are turned on for the second-versus-third clash against Bedford on Sunday, January 27.

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