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Nottingham Tame the Tigers

Nottingham Rugby got their pre-season off to a morale boosting start with a well deserved victory over Leicester Tigers at Lady Bay.

ONeill Vs Tigers

The Green and Whites scored four tries, with debutants Liam O'Neill and Alex Smit scoring two apiece, and more impressively, looked every bit a match for their illustrious opposition throughout the contest.

There were several outstanding performances for Nottingham.  Paul Grant showed his quality regularly, Toby Freeman and Dan Montagu showed off their ability with ball in hand on numerous occasions and Jon Vickers and Campese Ma'afu got through a tireless amount of work from the front row.

The most impressive performance came from Ed Styles in the centre, who had possibly his best game in a Nottingham shirt.  He was dangerous throughout with his running angles and his offloading game was on full display.

Despite a number of players making their debuts, the team showed that the work they've been putting in so far in pre-season is paying dividends and on this evidence, the season ahead looks promising.


Full match report by ANDI STARR

Pre-season games can often be misleading, with match fitness taking priority over results, but Nottingham's 26-19 win over a Leicester Tigers side at Lady Bay will have given them a much-needed confidence boost.

After the struggles of last season there has understandably been a degree of negativity concerning their prospects for the new campaign.

But the Green and Whites put in an impressive display from start to finish, one which went a long way towards dispelling those fears.

New signing Paul Grant showed up particularly well in the back row, and after injuries ruled him out of much of the second half of last season it was good to see skipper Brent Wilson get an hour's rugby in.

Ed Styles and Joe Munro also showed the makings of a good centre partnership, but it was new boys Alex Smit and Liam O'Neil who got the tries, each crossing twice to finish off some fine approach work.

Indeed, with so many new faces in the squad perhaps the most pleasing aspect of this win was just how well they gelled.

Tigers dominated the opening stages and after Fijian outside half Seremaia Bai had seen a penalty attempt drift wide in the strong wind and attack down the right wing brought a try For David Williams.

Bai's conversion gave the visitors a 7-nil lead after six minutes, but it was the Green and Whites who had the better of the next hour or so.

As they gradually built momentum a penalty effort from Will Maisey drifted across the face of the posts while a number of threatening attacks caused problems for the Tigers defence.

The equalising score came just before the half hour with scrum half Alex Smit getting the touch down and Maisey levelling the scores with the conversion.

A lineout steal then set up a second try for Nottingham with full back Billy Robinson making ground before sending winger Liam O'Neil clear to make it 12-7.

In the last minute of the first half though Tigers got themselves level as their pack ground their way up to the home line for Fraser Balmain to grab their second try and make it 12 points apiece at the break.

The Green and Whites had their best spell of the game in the third quarter and added two fine tries to take an impressive lead.

An early interception allowed Smit to break clear down the right for his second of the game, with replacement Jacob Knight adding the conversion.

And four minutes later it was O'Neil who increased the lead when his pace caught the visitors out. A difficult conversion from Knight gave Nottingham a 26-12 lead.

A yellow card for Tom Calladine though handed the initiative back to Tigers, and they camped in the Nottingham 22 before eventually seeing scrum half Sam Harrison cross, with the conversion making it 26-19.

Tigers missed a couple of late chances as they threw everything into attack but the Nottingham defence managed to hold them out to hang on to a deserved win.

Nottingham Scorers:

Tries: Smit x2, O'Neill x2

Conversions: Maisey (1 from 2), Knight (2 from 2)

Penalties: Maisey (0 from 2)

Sin Bin: Calladine


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