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London Welsh will be well rested and raring to go when they open their British and Irish Cup campaign against Moseley at Old Deer Park on Saturday (2pm).
The Exiles’ away fixture at Rotherham Titans last weekend fell victim to the recent freezing weather and that coincided with a long standing four-day break for the players. Hence the squad are itching to get back into action in the British and Irish Cup.
“It’s a long hard season and the players need to be fresh both physically and mentally going into the next period – we don’t want them getting stale,” said London Welsh head coach Phil Greening.
“This is something Paul Cater (strength and conditioning coach) and I learnt when we were at Wasps.
“It’s crucial to do this; it helps the players refocus and have the hunger to work again. Some of our injured players also got the chance to get some quality work in.”
The postponement of the Rotherham game interrupted a three match winning streak for Welsh, which has seen them concede just one try in victories over Cornish Pirates, Birmingham and Solihull and Plymouth Albion.
Welsh will be looking to take that form into the British and Irish Cup and continue their recent good run against Moseley. When the sides met at Billesley Common earlier in the season the Dragons ran in ten tries in a 68-22 win.
The Exiles missed out on a semi-final place in last season’s British and Irish Cup by just one point from Ulster Ravens, and while the promotion to the Premiership remains the club’s top priority, the British and Irish Cup is an important competition for Greening.
“It’s a chance to try new things and give players who haven’t had much Championship game time the opportunity to fight for the shirt,” he said.
“It’s also a good competition because we will be playing against teams that we are not familiar with, so it’s a good test for us.”
A 21-17 defeat at to Ulster at Ravenhill ultimately proved the difference last year, but with the Ravens scheduled to visit Old Deer Park this time around and the introduction of a quarter-final stage, the Exiles will have hopes of going at least one stage further.
“Every loss is disappointment and not making the semis was a blow for us, but that was last year and we are focusing on now,” said Greening.
“I want to see the players develop and if that means we go as far as we can in the British and Irish Cup then great. My only expectations are that we keep improving individually and play for London Welsh with pride.”
London Welsh squad v Moseley
Guy Armitage, Lee Beach, Marc Breeze, Matt Corker, Josh Drauniniu, Jonathan Fisher, Liam Gibson, Michael Hills, Michael Holford, Max Lahiff, Jamie Lennard, James Lewis, Rob Lewis, Waisea Luveniyali, Vili Ma’asi, Jon Mills, Mike Powell, Martin Purdy, Ben Russell, Paul Sampson, Dom Shabbo, Ben Stevenson, Epi Taione, Aled Thomas, Hudson Tonga’uiha, Lorne Ward, Dan Williams.
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