February 19, 2018, by Cara McIsaac-Hall

Team of the Week: Men’s Rugby 1st XV

Congratulations to the Rugby 1st XV, who were awarded Team of the Week for their amazing 20-10 win against the University of Leeds this week at Highfields Park. The two sides previously clashed in an entertaining fixture in Leeds, in which Nottingham ran out winners 39 – 26.

The match was set to be a cracker as the winner was set to confirm third place in the league and therefore secure a position in the BUCS Super League Cup at the end of the season. Nottingham fielded a strong team with Robert Smith returning at fly half after a lengthy spell on the sidelines, through a nasty knee injury picked up in the varsity fixture at the end of last season.

The game had also come at a testing time for the club, as postponed games due to bad weather saw Nottingham playing three games in seven days, one of which was away to Edinburgh, so the team was carrying a few very tired bodies. The side was captained by fourth year Alex Griffiths-Jones, as club captain James Pollard was unavailable due to injury.

Despite conditions being bad at Highfields, with the cold rain soon turning the playing surface into a mud bath, Nottingham were rewarded through some early pressure by the boot of Smith knocking over a few penalties to make the score 9 – 0. The big breakthrough came via Greg Blanchard, whose quick tap and go caught the Leeds defense out as he ran in for a try. This made the score 14 – 0 to Nottingham going into the halftime break.

Just 10 minutes into the second half Leeds managed to get their first points of the game through a penalty, which was quickly cancelled out via a successful penalty for Nottingham by Tom Allot making the score 17 – 3. A converted try from Leeds quickly closed the gap between the two sides making it 17 – 10 and building up for a tense finish. However, Nottingham reacted well and gained another 3 points through the boot of Allot again, leaving the final score 20 – 10.

A superb performance from Nottingham has secured them at least third place in the League. However, with a fixture away at Bishop Burton this week, as well as a slip up for Newcastle in their fixture, could see Nottingham secure second place!

Overall, by finishing in the top three Nottingham have already secured a place in the BUCS Super League Cup, which will see the team face top national opposition. This will serve as a great marker as the boys aspire for promotion to the top division of University rugby next season!

Well done to everyone in the squad and best of luck in this weeks’ fixture!

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