Nottingham Rugby got their pre-season off to a morale
boosting start with a well deserved victory over Leicester Tigers
at Lady Bay.
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
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
But the Green and Whites put in an impressive display from start
to finish, one which went a long way towards dispelling those
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
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
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
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
An early interception allowed Smit to break clear down the right
for his second of the game, with replacement Jacob Knight adding
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.
Tries: Smit x2, O'Neill x2
Conversions: Maisey (1 from 2), Knight (2 from
Penalties: Maisey (0 from 2)
Sin Bin: Calladine