The Green and Whites are in a better position to make the semi-finals than they were last year, according to captain Craig Hammond.

Having taken seven points from their opening three games, the kiwi believes Nottingham to be in a stronger position than they were in the 2009-10 campaign, despite the loss of key man Phil Eggleshaw at the weekend.

Former Paviors man Eggleshaw, who is still undergoing further tests, will miss the remainder of the season following assessments that revealed he had sustained a broken cheekbone in the March 25 tie.

“Phil’s injury is a massive, massive blow to us, there’s no doubt about that,” Hammond said.

“He’s been playing some great rugby. In particular, the defensive side of his game has been huge for us. It’s obviously a real shame for him and as a team he’s always a player we will miss.

However, Hammond believes Nottingham can continue pressing for a place in the knock-out stages despite the loss of his back row colleague.

He said: “The difference between this year and last year is greater depth to the squad. We’ve got quality players who can come in and try and stake a claim for a first XV position.

“There’s a competition for places we didn’t have last year and plenty of guys who want to give Glenn a selection headache. That’s a huge difference from the 2009-10 campaign.”

Speaking ahead of the game versus Worcester on Saturday at the Sixways Stadium, where the Green and Whites took two points earlier in the campaign, Nottingham’s most capped captain believes the Green and Whites can improve on last Friday’s bonus point capturing performance.

“We’ve got to be confident going into Saturday’s game. We defended well last week which we can be proud of, but this week we need to play some quick balls and play our own game.

“Our backs are the key to us getting a result and are the focal point of our team. I think Worcester knew that last week and made sure the ball was kicked off the field to stop us building up a high tempo.

“We’ve showed we can score against anyone when we get underway, on Saturday we’ve got a good chance to show that before travelling to Bristol and then returning to Meadow Lane.”

To see a video of the dramatic last seven minutes of action from Friday’s game click here!