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Shields: Time to Stand Tall

WITH every push that Matt Shields makes in the scrum he is determined to get closer to establishing himself as a first-choice prop with the Green and Whites.

Shields startThe 21-year-old (pictured) gets his second start in as many weeks for Nottingham, lining-up alongside Michael Holford and Ollie Taylor in the front row against Doncaster tonight (7.45pm kick-off).

Having waited patiently on the fringes during the opening weeks of the RFU Championship, Shields is taking head coach Martin Haag's call to "step-up" personally.

"I'm happy to get my chance to show what I can do, because I've been itching to be part of it," Shields said.

"I'm out there to put the pressure on the lads that have been doing so well in the league and make sure I'm in the mix with them.

"The platform we have this season is great, especially at scrum time, so I know it's going to take something extra to get into the league side.

"This is the chance to show Martin, Neil (forwards coach Neil Fowkes) and Jono (backs coach Ben Johnston) that what we have been doing in practice, working on week in and week out, is coming through in the way we play."

Shields and Quinn are the only two players to hold their place in the tight five this week, as Haag continues to shuffle his big guns.

Matt Parr and Joe Duffey headline a powerful replacements bench that also includes No. 9 Sean Romans, Japan international fly half James Arlidge, Andrew Savage and flanker Brent Wilson.

Shields is glad to have so much heavy artillery in reserve, with those teammates he battles with on daily basis also acting as his greatest mentors and motivators.

"This is a tight squad, we fight each other for positions, but at the same time we are all helping one another out," Shields said.

"Parr, Holf and Duffey have been great with me, Ollie and some of the other lads who haven't played as much this season. These are experienced players who have starred at a very high level, so with every game I watch and every scrum session we have together there is more to be learned from them."


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