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Priest rises to make Cup start for Nottingham

DAVID Priest has stepped straight out of hospital to make an impact on Nottingham Rugby.

Priest actionA week after The University of Nottingham physiotherapy student was named as a shock inclusion for the Green and Whites' British and Irish Cup opener in Wales, he steps-up to make his first start for the club against Doncaster at Meadow Lane tomorrow (7.45pm kick-off).

It completes a whirl-wind seven days for the shaggy-haired third year pupil, who spent the past month on work placement in an Ilkeston hospital.

Priest's elevation to the XV is one of a host of changes for the second weekend of the cross-border competition, with Ollie Taylor promoted to starting hooker and James Stokes coming in at full-back.

Fittingly, Priest will take centre stage for a match branded the Student Party to celebrate the start of the school semester.

The athletic centre admits it has been a tricky balancing act, studying full-time while making the most of his life as physiotherapist in training and aspiring rugby professional.

"Rugby training was minimal there for a few weeks," Priest said.

"As a third year student you are basically treated as a junior physio at work. It was a lot of work, seeing a lot of patients every day. It's hectic trying to get used to the working world as a student."

Priest has impressed at Nottingham Rugby's Lady Bay training base since joining the RFU Championship side in the summer. The 20-year-old and his University of Nottingham Rugby Club teammate Alex Boggis were both invited to be part of the squad after starring in the annual Varsity Match against Nottingham Trent.

His induction to the Green and Whites against a side with a perfect record in the Principality Premiership, with Llandovery sitting top of the league with six bonus-point wins, was a nerve-wrecking one.

"It was tough, a lot harder than anything I've ever experienced before," Priest said.

"The physicality was right up there, but mainly it was the skill level and tempo that was the hardest to get use to.

"I came in a bit rusty, as I was bound to be after the four weeks of work placement. But I felt that I played well defensively with the minutes that I got, but I know I have work to do attacking wise.

"The nerves were there before the game, but they tend to melt away once you take the field."


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