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Eggleshaw to make first start in cup quarter-final

Back-row forward Phil Eggleshaw will make his first start of the season for Nottingham in Friday night's British and Irish Cup quarter-final at Newcastle (8pm kick-off).

Eggleshaw training

GO TIME: Phil Eggleshaw will start in Nottingham's quarter-final meeting with Newcastle at Kingston Park.

The 24-year-old helped the Green and Whites secure the all-English showdown, making his first appearance of the campaign as a replacement in the crucial Pool 8 win over Llandovery in February.

Eggleshaw spent the first five months on the season on the sideline after undergoing shoulder surgery.

He slots in alongside Tom Calladine in the back-row  who not only takes over from skipper Brent Wilson at open-side flanker but also assumes captaincy.

Forwards coach Neil Fowkes said the knock-out match would be a crucial test for the squad having last week secured a Premiership play-off berth with two league games to spare.

"It is important with where we are in the season that we see players get game time and allow others the chance to rest," Fowkes said.

"There is no tougher test in this league than going up to Kingston Park on a Friday night to take on the Falcons. This is an experience that is going to serve a lot of these players well when it comes to crunch time in future games.

"Tom Calladine has been pushing for his chance at No. 7 and he not only deserves his shot at Newcastle, he also has what it takes to lead the side. We looked at all the players for the honour and Calla has all the attributes for the job."

Dual-registered Leicester lock Tom Price will make his first club appearance since being stretchered off with head injury on his Tigers' debut in January.

The England under-20 international made his first appearance for Nottingham as a replacement in the league win over Rotherham in the first week of January.

Hooker Shaun Malton holds on to his place in the starting team with Jimmy Stevens moving onto a strong bench alongside Matt Parr, Dan Montagu, Rupert Cooper, Sean Romans, Joe Munro and Matt Shields.

Andy Forsyth retains his place at inside centre with Joe Cobden slotting in alongside him.

Former junior Scotland international winger Jack Bradford and full-back James Stokes have been recalled from their loan spells at Leicester Lions and promoted straight to the starting XV.

Fowkes is keen to see a number of combinations at work with half-back Finlay Barnham teaming up with Rory Lynn and props Ryan Bower and Jonny Harris linking up with Malton in the front-row.

"Two years ago Jonny was our young player of the year and Ryan has played a lot of rugby for this club, so these players have a lot of experience," Fowkes said.

"Rory has come up against some tough opposition throughout the year, from London Irish and Tigers in pre-season to regularly comings off the bench in the league for us.

"Fin is part of our leadership group and another player that I'm excited to see in action from the very start."

Nottingham Rugby team to face Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Friday, April 5 (8pm kick-off):15 James Stokes 14 Jack Bradford 13 Joe Cobden 12 Andy Forsyth 11 Ryan Hough 10 Rory Lynn 9 Finlay Barnham; 1 Jonny Harris 2 Shaun Malton 3 Ryan Bower 4 Joe Quinn 5 Tom Price 6 Phil Eggleshaw 7 Tom Calladine 8 Alex Shaw

Replacements from:16 Jimmy Stevens 17 Matt Parr 18 Matt Shields 19 Dan Montagu 20 Rupert Cooper 21 Sean Romans 22 Joe Munro.


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