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Jono takes over as head honcho for Cup opener

NOTTINGHAM Rugby backs coach Ben Johnston has stepped-up this week to take over as boss for the British and Irish Cup opener in Wales.

The former England international (pictured) has been promoted to the hot seat for the match against Llandovery on Saturday by Green and Whites head coach Martin Haag.

Jono coaching

It is a first for Nottingham Rugby and one that Haag insists is vital to the improvement of his support staff. Forwards coach Neil Fowkes will also get a chance to stand-in as head coach during the Cup campaign at some stage.

"It's part of the coach development process," Haag said.

"I want staff and players to feel valued and part of the process.

"I'm not going to be sat on a beach in Barbados with my feet up. I'll be right there next to him.

"The three of us share duties among ourselves, but this is a good chance for Jono and later for Fowkesy to do things as the head honcho."

Johnston, who has come through the ranks as a playing-assistant coach with Nottingham to a full-time position, is excited about the faith place in him for the challenging trip away.

"Going to the Valleys in Wales is going to be a tough day in the office," Johnston said.

"It's great that Martin is so conscious of our coaching development because both Neil and I are fairly new to it.

"Being handed the reins like this gives me that experience that I'm craving."

Johnston will have a tough act to follow with Nottingham registering two rampaging wins in as many weeks in the RFU Championship, notching up 100 points in 160 minutes of play.

Changes will be made to the side with an emphasis on youth being employed in the Cup.

As for how they perform, Johnston will demanding the same high standards.

"The systems we have in place at the moment are really good and we are playing some really great footie," he said.

"We will be giving some of those players that haven't had much of a run some exposure in the next few weeks."


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