Nottingham hooker Joe Duffey will play his 200th game for the club against RFU Championship leaders Newcastle at Meadow Lane tomorrow night (Friday, March 22 – 7.45pm kick-off).
Notching up the double ton in the biggest home game of the season to date – the second-versus-first showdown with the Falcons – is a fitting stage for the tough and uncompromising Kiwi.
Duffey is in the second year of his third spell with the club, having first joined the Green and Whites in 2003.
While a man of few words, the 30-year-old didn’t need to say much to express how much the milestone moment means to him.
“That many games, 200, is a really big achievement. I’m proud to play so many games for Nottingham,” Duffey said.
“I’ve been with this club for so long – from starting out at Beeston to playing here at Meadow Lane.
“It has been a great ride.”
Duffey is rejoined in the front row by Matt Parr, with the loosehead prop recovering from a leg injury.
The only other change head coach Martin Haag makes for the Falcons’ first ever trip to Meadow Lane – and Newcastle’s first appearance in Nottingham since 1996 – is recall centre Tim Streather, who has recovered from a hamstring niggle.
Haag said: “Streather has been playing very, very well but got injured and that opened the door for Joe Cobden to get a few games and he performed well. We also have Andy Forsyth going well and really at this time of year we are in a good place with players fit and fighting for spots in the starting XV.
“Parr obviously got injured and Jonny Harris came in and did exceptional work for us and it is probably a bit hard to leave him out, but that was always the plan.
“Going forward it is always about who plays well, and this week it is good to have some fresh legs in there because we have had a couple of short turn arounds in the past few weeks.”
Nottingham’s clash with the Falcons has generated record pre-sales with more than 1,700 tickets already snapped up for the Friday blockbuster.
Advanced ticket sales close at 12noon today (Thursday, March 21), but tickets will still be available on the gate on match day for the main Derek Pavis Stand.
Call Nottingham Rugby HQ on 0115 907 0070 for more details.
Nottingham Rugby team to face Newcastle Falcons at Meadow Lane Stadium on Friday, March 22 (7.45pm kick-off):
15 Andrew Savage 14 David Jackson 13 Tim Streather 12 Joe Munro 11 Alex Lewington 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 Shaw.
Replacements from: 16 Shaun Malton 17 Ryan Bower 18 Joe Quinn 19 Tom Calladine 20 Finlay Barnham 21 Joe Cobden 22 Andrew Forsyth.