NOTTINGHAM prop Matt Parr and
hooker Joe Duffey will both make their first appearances of 2013 on
Sunday when the Green and Whites host Bedford at Meadow Lane
Stadium (2.45pm kick-off).
The return of
the pair was put on ice last week when Nottingham's British and
Irish Cup clash with Llandovery was postponed due to the big freeze
that gripped the East Midlands.
Head coach Martin Haag did not hesitate ushering the front row
pair into the starting XV for the second-versus-third RFU
Parr (pictured) comes back from injury to replace Jonny Harris
at loose head, while Shaun Malton makes way for Duffey following
"Matt has come back fit from his finger problem and I'm looking
forward to seeing him in action," Haag said.
"Joe hasn't played too much of a part in the last few weeks but
he is champing at the bit to get back. Shaun Malton came in and
progressed a lot over the last two or three games in particular,
but having Joe back adds that experience for a game like this."
Weather conditions and affected matches has forced a re-shuffle
among the backs with Andrew Savage given another week to recover
from injury after initially being named in the side to take on
Llandovery seven days ago.
David Jackson starts at full back, with Alex Lewington moving
onto the right wing.
Lock Dan Montagu is poised to make his 100th appearance in the
Championship clash that will decide who will finish the weekend
sitting outright second on the league table.
Nottingham are currently second, equal with Bedford with 45
competition points but ahead on points difference.
The clash, to be televised live on Sky Sports, has generated
record ticket pre-sales for Nottingham this season.
Despite the buzz of anticipation and high stakes, Haag refuses
to be distracted.
"There is a lot of interest in this game, but from our point of
view it is just another game along our journey," Haag said.
"For us it is about staying composed - composed on the field,
composed off the field and making sure that we do the things we are
capable of doing. "
With temperatures set to rise over the weekend, forecasted
to reach 7C on Sunday, Nottingham Rugby bosses and ground staff are
extremely confident the clash will go ahead.
The frost covers remain on the pitch as more snow is expected to
fall in the East Midlands today (Friday).
Nottingham Rugby team to face Bedford at Meadow Lane on
Sunday, January 27 - 2.45pm kick-off:15 David Jackson 14
Alex Lewington 13 Tim Streather 12 Joe Munro 11 Rhys Crane 10 James
Arlidge 9 Sean Romans 1 Matt Parr 2 Joe Duffey 3 Michael Holford 4
Dan Montagu 5 Nic Rouse 6 Rupert Cooper 7 Brent Wilson 8 Alex
Replacement from:16 Shaun Malton 17 Ryan Bower
18 Joe Quinn 19 Tom Calladine 20 Finlay Barnham 21 Rory Lynn 22 Joe