Savage’s blows prove too much for Leeds as Nottingham win

FULL-BACK Andrew Savage bagged a brace of tries to spearhead Nottingham’s comeback win over Leeds.

Leeds opened an early lead courtesy of Joe Ford’s boot and tries from Stevie McColl and Ben Hooper.

While Nottingham’s Japan international fly-half James Arlidge slotted the home side’s first points of the Championship season with a third-minute penalty, Leeds controlled the opening stages.

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Ford ensured the hosts’ advantage was immediately rubbed out, but it was a lightning quick cross-field move that had the Green and Whites back-tracking early.

Leeds centre Pete Lucock unlocked Nottingham out wide with a sharp off-load that saw full-back McColl punch through for the opening try after 11 minutes.

With Ford extending the buffer to 10 points with another penalty, from 50 metres, Leeds went in search of more tries as the game started to open up at the feet.

With the pressure building on the five-metre line with back-to-back penalties called against Nottingham, the Green and Whites eventually cracked with prop Hooper burrowing over.

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Just as Nottingham were losing their grip on proceeding, however, they replied through Michael Holford who tumbled over the line from a driving maul to make it 20-8. Soon after Savage found a slither of room on the wing, darting through a throng of bodies to raise Nottingham’s spirits heading into the break.

Savage gave the hosts a perfect re-start, by again showing a knack for finding the try-line through plenty of traffic to score his second of the night after 42 minutes.

With his 100th conversion for Nottingham, Arlidge edged Nottingham back into the lead, 24-23.

Ford managed to snatch the advantage back, but a poorly floated pass from Curtis Wilson and a dropped ball by Stevie McColl invited undue pressure on Leeds.

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Nottingham immediately took advantage from the ensuing set-piece as No 8 Alex Shaw collected the ball at the base of the scrum before twisting and turning his way between a wall of desperate Leeds defenders. It was a position of superiority that Nottingham were never to surrender.

Nottingham: Savage, Hough, Streather, Munro, Crane, Arlidge, Romans; Parr, Duffey, Holford (Bower, 74 mins), Montagu (Quinn, 61mins), Rouse, Cooper (Calladine, 77 mins), Wilson, Shaw. Replacements: Stevens, Bower, Quinn, Calladine, Barnham, Lynn, Cobden.

Leeds Carnegie: McColl, Wilson, (Chisholm, 61mins), Lucock, Burdon, Doherty, Ford, Doherty (Hampson, 48mins); Imiolek (Harris, 70mins), Nilsen (Graham, 61mins), Hooper, Green (Tussac, 61 mins), Hemingway, Beck, Rowan, Burrows (Burrow, 68mins). Replacements: Graham, Harris, Tussac, Myerscough, Barrow, Hampson, Chisholm.

Referee: L ApGeraint-Roberts.