Nottingham Rugby: Ian Costello confident of play-off challenge in Championship

Ian Costello makes a point during his time as Munster assistant coach
Ian Costello led Munster A to the British and Irish Cup title as head coach in 2012

Director of rugby Ian Costello remains confident Nottingham will mount a play-off push despite a "challenging" start to the Championship season.

The injury-hit Green & Whites are ninth in the table having lost three of their first five fixtures, but the defeats have come against the top three.

Costello, who took over in the summer, has been encouraged by his new team.

"I think we are a top-six side, and if we get things right we're a top-four side," he told BBC Radio Nottingham.

Nottingham face fourth-placed Doncaster on Saturday and former Munster assistant coach Costello said a win would mean his side have made a decent start to the campaign.

"We targeted the play-offs; they are genuine, realistic ambitions," he continued.

"We have had a few challenges in the first six weeks that we didn't see coming, around availability of players.

"But now knowing what I know, and seeing the top teams, if we can stay healthy and we have good numbers, I think we have enough quality to be really competitive."

The opening five games have seen defeats against much-fancied Yorkshire Carnegie, Cornish Pirates and London Irish.

"We were very aware all six games were difficult against a lot of the top sides," Costello added.

"We try not to make excuses but we have have had an unprecedented amount of injuries. Last weekend we had nine of our starting 22 out.

"I think we have met that challenge pretty well. If we can get a win against Doncaster and go three from six, and position ourselves within touching distance of the play-offs, we will be very happy."

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