RUGBY UNION: Burnell is fired up for clash of Exiles

Bicester Advertiser: Pete Browne, seen here feeling the force of two Plymouth players, is one of only three London Welsh men to keep their place for today’s clash with London Scottish Pete Browne, seen here feeling the force of two Plymouth players, is one of only three London Welsh men to keep their place for today’s clash with London Scottish

London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell makes wholesale changes for today’s clash with London Scottish at the Kassam Stadium (5pm), which sees first take on third in the Greene King IPA Championship.

Welsh go into the game eight points clear and on the back of consecutive bonus point wins over Edinburgh Academicals in the British & Irish Cup.

Only Rob Lewis, Alec Hepburn and Pete Browne survive from the Exiles team which last weekend won 33-7 at Raeburn Place.

“It’s a massive game and London Scottish are a very good side,” said Burnell.

“It’s a big derby and there’s a lot of history involved, but we’re getting quite comfortable sitting at the top of the table and we don’t want to be moved from there. That’s incentive enough for us.

“It was great to get two good performances under our belt in the B&I Cup to build back into the Championship.

“We’ve been fortunate the last fortnight to rest some of our tired bodies and recharge the batteries.

“We let ourselves down at Bedford, our performance was unacceptable – from No 1 to No 15, everyone under-achieved.

“We weren’t at the races. We’ve had a good look at it and hopefully it won’t happen again.”

Saturday’s meeting will be the 66th time the clubs have met.

Welsh lead the way on 33 wins, with Scottish on 27 and five draws.

The last time they met in the Championship was on February 19, 2012, when Welsh won 29-22 at the Athletic Ground, Richmond.

TODAY’S TEAMS

London Welsh: Jewell, Stegmann, May (capt), Parker, Scott, Ross, R Lewis, Hepburn, Vella, Edwards, Nimmo, P Browne, Lees, Kirwan, Thorpe. Reps: Morris, Trevett, Tideswell, West, Pienaar, Davies, Awcock.

London Scottish: Thompson, Doneghan, Grove, Reay, Mantella, Newton, Pasqualin, Fry, Kwasnicki, Francis, Hotson, Lyons, Russell, Pennycook, Bright (capt). Reps: Kilbane, Irish, Spivey, Spinks, Milla, Homan, Gidlow.

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