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Nottingham Preview – Sunday, 2pm

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On Sunday London Scottish returns to league action with a tasty fixture at home against Nottingham Rugby. This match is the penultimate home league fixture of the regular season and Scottish will be looking to bounce back after their loss at Bedford. Nottingham were involved in the British & Irish Cup Quarter-Finals last weekend and lost heavily away at Cornish Pirates 33 -3.

On Sunday London Scottish returns to league action with a tasty fixture at home against Nottingham Rugby. This match is the penultimate home league fixture of the regular season and Scottish will be looking to bounce back after their loss at Bedford. Nottingham were involved in the British & Irish Cup Quarter-Finals last weekend and lost heavily away at Cornish Pirates 33 -3.

London Scottish took their first break after playing continuous rugby week on week since the start of September last year and the rest weekend will have given the coaching team time to reflect on the progress that has been made by Scottish during the course of the season. In addition, it will also have given the medical and conditioning staff at the club further time to ensure that the squad will be eager and raring to go into the remaining regular league fixtures of the season, together with the all important relegation play-off matches.

MPU

Nottingham Rugby has had a mixed season to date. In the opening fixture they lost out to Bedford Blues by two points at home, but followed this up with three consecutive wins, including their opening fixture in the British & Irish Cup match. The club then went into an inconsistent phase of matches where they lost two fixtures and then subsequently drew two fixtures out of their next four matches in the league. In the reverse fixture against Scottish the home side race away to a 23 – 6 half time lead, however Scottish put in a sterling second half performance, which saw Nottingham struggling to cross the finishing line 33 -31 to gain the win. The performance by Scottish in the second half was excellent and they certainly deserved more than the losing bonus point. Nottingham currently sit 7th in the league table and have lost their last three league fixtures.

The Nottingham side is very much a workman like side with few outstanding stars in their side. The exceptions to this are the former England centre come winger Ayoola Erinle who has been playing on the wing. Another player who fits this category is James Aldridge who represented Japan in the recent World Cup, however has retired from international rugby and is now concentrating on his club career. One player who will be able to give an insight on the Nottingham players is Charlie Hayter who played for Nottingham earlier in the season, primarily on the wing. A recent new recruit at Nottingham is the Kiwi and former Wasps hooker Matt Holloway who has recently been playing back in his native New Zealand.

There is a current Scotland connection between both clubs with them both having representatives in the current Scottish U 20 squad. For Nottingham this is centre Jack Bradford, together with our very own Jamie Stevenson. Both players recently attend a Scotland U20 training squad ahead of the 6 Nations U 20 tournament, which gets started on 3rd of February. Congratulations to both players for receiving this recognition. Whilst on the subject of rugby in Scotland, all at London Scottish send their congratulations to Edinburgh on their fantastic achievement in reaching the Quarter-Finals of the Heineken Cup. With Glasgow also narrowly missing out in a place in the Amlin Cup it has certainly been a tremendous year for the professional sides north of the border in the premier cup competition. I know it’s a tall order, but let’s hope that Edinburgh can go all the way to the final as I am sure that a large contingent from London Scottish would be lending their support at Twickenham.

With the Championship deadline for signings this Friday, there could well be a flurry of activity in new players joining clubs ahead of the Championship play-offs. With this preview being written ahead of the deadline date there may well be some additions to the Scottish squad, but only time will tell. For Scottish the weeks down time from the rigours of Championship rugby has provided a rest period for all players in the squad and has also provided those on the injury list with additional time to recover from their injuries. There are a number of players on the injury list who are very close to being available for matches and will certainly provide a boost of confidence for the whole squad.

Scottish go into this attractive fixture against a Nottingham side that are very physical in the pack and have a good set of backs who like to throw the ball out wide. They will certainly pose a significant challenge to Scottish, however at home Scottish will be determined to increase their win tally of league matches and improve the clubs prospects going into the play off matches. For all Scottish supporters please make sure that you get down to the RAG on Sunday and note that the kick off is 2pm. C’mon Scottish

Please note: there will be no District Line service between Richmond and Earl's Court on Sunday – please seek alternative forms of travel. The trains are unaffected
 

London Scottish 6 – 21 Nottingham

London Scottish 6 – 21 Nottingham

London Scottish lost out 6 -21 against a very physical Nottingham outfit, in a match which was a forwards dominated game. The game was littered with handling and kicking errors by both sides who were attempting to gain the upper hand. The game was not finally settled until the closing stages, when Nottingham scored a penalty to put the match beyond Scottish.

London Scottish lost out 6 -21 against a very physical Nottingham outfit, in a match which was a forwards dominated game. The game was littered with handling and kicking errors by both sides who were attempting to gain the upper hand. The game was not finally settled until the closing stages, when Nottingham scored a penalty to put the match beyond Scottish.

For this match Scottish again made a number of changes to their starting line up, giving a debut at full back to Gerard Mullen following his move from London Welsh earlier in the week. The team also included Mark Bright at number 8 who was returning after a long term injury and full back John Bordiss took his place on the replacements bench, who was similarly returning from a long term injury.  To the surprise of many in the crowd, the club also welcomed back one of its favourite sons in Matt Johnson at prop.  Matt left at the end of last season after having played with the club since the 2004/5 season and was an integral member of the side as the club rose up the league structure.  Matt now holds the rare distinction of having played with Scottish in London 1, National league 3 South, National League 1 and finally in the Championship.

MPU

On a chilly and overcast day Scottish kicked off, playing towards the sports club end of the ground.  Scottish regained possession immediately from the kick off and second row Alex Karonias took the play into the opposition’s 22 metre area after supporting centre Ryan Western had cut through the Nottingham defence.  The away sides were then penalised for offside, however fly half James Brown pulled his conversion attempt to the right of the posts.  Shortly after, Nottingham made a good break down their left flank with winger Mike Penn gaining significant ground into the Scottish half, however Scottish turned the ball over and cleared the threat.

During the next 20 minutes of the game, it was a very scrappy affair with neither side truly dominating the play.  There were many handling errors during these phases of the game, together with a number of kicking errors as both sides attempted to gain the upper hand.  On the 27th minute Scottish were caught offside just outside their 22 metre line.  Nottingham opted to kick for the corner.  From the subsequent line out, the away side caught and drove towards the Scottish try line.  The Scottish defence held firm, however they were penalised for coming in at the side of the ruck.  Nottingham again opted for the lineout and drove over out wide, with flanker Sione Kalamafoni emerging with the ball.  Fly half Kieran Hallett missed his conversion attempt.

With a minute remaining on the clock in the first half, Scottish were penalised for being offside and Hallett pushed the Nottingham lead out to 8 points.  However, Scottish quickly reduced the arrears on the stroke of half time when the away side were also caught offside on their 22 metre line.  Brown made up for his earlier miss and reduced the score line to 3 – 8 as the referee blew the half time whistle.  A first half that could easily be summed up, as frustrating for all watching, as both sides cancelled one another out with the error count being high.

In the opening phases of the second half Nottingham were pressurising the Scottish defence and on the 43rd minute they were awarded a penalty in the Scottish 22 metre after the home side were penalised for coming in at the side of the ruck.  Hallett converted the penalty attempt to make the score line 3 – 11 in favour of Nottingham.  Scottish conceded a further penalty on the 47th minute, however Hallett pushed his kick well to the right of the posts.  On the 55th minute, Scottish created a good backs move with Bordiss who had come on as a replacement joining the Scottish attack out on the wing.  As Bordiss was closing in on the Nottingham try line the covering Nottingham full back Andrew Savage tackled Bordiss and then deliberately sealed the ball off in the tackle, preventing Scottish from obtaining quick ball. Savage was immediately yellow carded by the referee and spent the next 10 minutes on the side lines.  Scottish upped their game and as they were attacking close to the Nottingham line, scrum half Matt Heeks tried to play a quick ball but the referee was badly positioned being too close to the play and the ball was prevented from being passed to the supporting Scottish player as it bounced off the embarrassed match official.  To even things up the referee performed the same activity later in the match when Nottingham were attempting to pass from the back of a ruck.

Scottish began to exert dominance in the scrum in the second half and the Nottingham pack conceded 3 consecutive penalties at the scrum.  Scottish opted to covert the third penalty and Brown reduced the arrears to 6 – 11.  On the 63rd minute Scottish were penalised for not releasing the tackled player and again Hallett missed the conversion attempt, with the ball drifting very wide of the posts.  The one area of the pitch in which Scottish dominated throughout the match was in the scrum and on the 66th minute the Nottingham scrum was penalised yet again for collapsing the scrum.  As the game moved towards its conclusion, Scottish were penalised for a high tackle on their 22 metre line.  Hallett converted to put the game beyond doubt.  As the game moved into over time the Nottingham side made a break down the blindside of a ruck in the Scottish half.  Replacement winger Ayoola Erinle closed in on the try line and off loaded to centre Tim Streather who was in close support.  Erinle’s pass to Streather appeared to be forward, but to the dismay of those in the ground the referee controversially allowed play to continue with the assistant referee not being in line with play and Streather raced away to touch down beneath the posts.  Hallett converted to leave a final score of 6 – 21.

Another tough game for Scottish, but they can take heart from the return of a number of the long term injured players.  Those players will have gained significantly from the game time and Scottish will be looking to build upon this in their next match when they make the short journey across to Hersham to take on our fellow relegation play-off contenders Esher.   Look out for the match preview which will be on the website later in the week.

Matt Johnston was awarded the First Cape Wines sponsored Man of the Match award.

Scottish's next home game will be against local rivals London Welsh on February 19th (2pm kick off), in front of what promises to be the largest crowd of the season at the Athletic Ground. To purchase advance tickets, and avoid the queues on the day, please click here.

 

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