Nottingham Fly-Half Shane O’Leary has returned form his World cup trip with Canada, and has been named in the starting 15 against Hartpury on Friday evening.
O’Leary picked up 20 minutes playing time in the World Cup, and Nottingham Head Coach Neil Fowkes says the 26-year-old is itching to play some rugby.
He said: “He played in the Pacific Nations Cup in the summer in the build-up to the World Cup and got some good game time there. I felt he was pretty unlucky not to get more game time in Japan. He had 20 minutes and was in line to come off the bench against Namibia as well but it was rightly called off with the typhoon. He’s itching to play some rugby; he’s dying to get back out there and show everyone what he can do.”
The Green and Whites face Hartpury next in the Greene King IPA Championship, and Fowkes is aware that the home side will come out flying to try and demolish Nottingham’s 100% league record.
Hartpury have played two and lost two so far this season, having lost to Doncaster Knights and Newcastle Falcons respectively.
Neil Fowkes said: “It’s a difficult one – they rested a lot of players against Newcastle last time out so they will be targeting us for sure. We go down there with some confidence from two good league wins. The boys are dying to get out there because they know Hartpury are targeting us. They want to go and show what they can do and make some history by winning somewhere they’ve never won before.”
Fowkes faces a different challenge, however, of keeping the Green and Whites grounded after a good start to the season. He said his team are very much a grounded bunch, although they do want to keep the momentum flowing.
“They’re a very grounded bunch and they how tough the Championship is and there’s no easy games in this league so they know what the challenge is ahead of them,” said Fowkes. He added: “They’re a very level group and they’re not getting too far ahead of themselves, it’s only two league games. We just want to keep improving. We’ve had some good sessions this week where the boys have worked hard and trained at a good tempo. It’s about bottling that up and unleashing it up at College Park on Friday night. You want to keep momentum going and keep performances high.”