10:00am Friday 16th August 2013
By Ed Mezzetti
London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell says they are itching to get going ahead of tomorrow’s opening friendly at Chinnor (2.30).
It will be the first time Burnell has led the Oxford-based Exiles in a match as they prepare for the new Greene King IPA Championship season.
“We’ve done seven weeks of good quality work and we’ve just come back from a week off, and you can see that we’re ready to play rugby,” said Burnell.
“Obviously we’ve only been able to put certain aspects of our play into place, but it’s going to be very interesting to see where we’re at against Chinnor.
“There’s a good buzz about the place in respect of competition for places – that’s the big thing for me.”
Welsh, who plan to move all their operations to the Oxford area this season, host Llanelli Scarlets at the Kassam Stadium on Sunday, August 25.
They will then visit Henley Hawks for their final warm-up clash on Saturday, August 31 before taking on Bedford Blues in their league opener at Allianz Park on Saturday, September 14.
“By the Henley game we shouldn’t be a million miles away from knowing our starting XV against Bedford,” said Burnell.
“Chinnor is the first step on the ladder in respect of getting everyone on the park and looking at different combinations.”
Chinnor’s new head coaches could not have picked a much tougher match to open their tenure at Kingsey Road.
Matt Goode and Andrew Smith have been given the role jointly after the resignation of Craig Chalmers.
And Goode said: “Why not go hard first and see what happens?
“We are hoping to take some positives out of this, although it is not going to be easy.
“We will have a squad of 40 players from the firsts and seconds.
“The seconds had an awesome season last year, winning every match, so lots of them will be looking to challenge for a place.”
Entry is free to the match at Kingsey Road, which will feature rolling replacements.
WOMEN’S teams will play in the Abingdon Sevens for the first time at the club’s Lambrick Way ground tomorrow.
Eight ladies sides will compete for the George Dimond Cup, while 20 men’s teams battle it out for the traditional trophies.
Dimond was a former Abingdon player and bar manager, who died last year and left a legacy to the club to promote rugby.
The action gets under way at 11.45am, with the entrance fee £5 per car.
BICESTER start their pre-season at home to Southam tomorrow (3).
Dan Spencer stays as captain, with Chris Giles as manager and Tony Staples as forwards’ coach.
Training on Tuesdays and Thursdays (7-9pm) has been well attended, but they are hoping to recruit more players.
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