Oxfordshire will need to hit the heights against Surrey at Grove tomorrow if they are to secure a Twickenham final spot (3).
That ics the message from head coach Craig Burrows, who admits Shield holders Surrey are favourites for the semi-final clash.
“Most of their team will be from Dorking, won won the National 3 London title,” said Burrows.
“They are reigning champions and favourites.
“We have got to put in a performance along the lines we showed against Berkshire in our first match.
“Surrey have not been tested yet and we have got to make sure we test them from the start.”
Pete Boulton (Oxford Harlequins) replaces Martyn Walsh (Grove) at tight-head prop, while Rory Gratwohl starts ahead of Grove clubmate Richard Haire at No 8.
Flanker Cash Chilvers (Grove) returns after illness and Zac Norris (Oxford Harlequins) starts at fly half, with Henry Day (Grove) preferred to James Monks (Witney) at full back.
Burrows added: “It will be better for our players knowing that there is a really big challenge for them.
“They know they will have to be at the top of their game to compete.
“That will suit us better rather than going for one point or losing by less than 18 as we needed to against Dorset & Wilts to qualify.”
Burrows captained Oxon the last time they played at Twickenham – a 2006 Shield final defeat.
“It’s a huge incentive for us to get there,” he said.
“That’s one of the reasons why people want to play county rugby, but there is a lot of hard work to do before we can even start to think about that.
“There was a bit too much talk about that (Twickenham) before the game against Dorset, although we did try to stamp it out.”
The winners will play either Cumbria or Leicestershire in the final at Twickenham on Sunday, June 1.
Proud hosts Grove are planning a barbecue and an outside bar.
Oxfordshire: Day (Grove), J Mills (Banbury), Clarke (Witney), Bellinger, G Nicholl (both Grove), Norris (Oxford Harlequins), E Phillips (Banbury), Eckert (capt), Dixey (both Grove), Boulton, Purchase, Brown (both Oxford Harlequins), Wells, C Chivers, Gratwohl (all Grove). Reps from: Monks (Witney), Spencer (Bicester), Walsh, Haire, Carr, J Chilvers, Clipsham (all Grove).
Latest Sport news
9:30am Wednesday 26th November 2014
MICKEY Lewis backed James Roberts to come back stronger than ever after Oxford United were boosted by the news the striker’s hamstring injury was not serious.
4:00pm Wednesday 26th November 2014
CONGRATULATIONS to Lewis Hamilton on winning the Formula 1 drivers’ world championship for the second time in his superb career.
1:00pm Wednesday 26th November 2014
Here's our interactive back page for you to explore today with links to all the stories and latest headlines
12:31pm Wednesday 26th November 2014
OXFORD University hammered Loughborough University 43-0 in their penultimate Varsity Match warm-up at a very wet Iffley Road last night.
12:29pm Wednesday 26th November 2014
BANBURY United exited the Birmingham Senior Cup after losing 6-1 at Coleshill Town.
9:00am Wednesday 26th November 2014
LONDON Welsh could see first-choice half backs Olly Barkley and Piri Weepu return to face Northampton at the Kassam Stadium in the Aviva Premiership on Sunday.
8:50am Wednesday 26th November 2014
With their closest rivals in cup action, Carterton Town A increased their lead at the top of the Witney & District FA Premier Division to eight points with a 3-1 home win over bottom club Brize Norton, writes ANTHONY BARLOW.
8:40am Wednesday 26th November 2014
North Berks League Division 1 leaders Berinsfield made short work of bottom side Saxton Rovers with a comfortable 5-0 home win, writes PHIL ANNETS.
8:30am Wednesday 26th November 2014
DAMINI Bhagat hit a hat-trick for Oxford City in the Under 12 Red League as they ended leaders Tower Hill Vixens’ perfect record with a 6-2 away win.