RHYS Crane will make a dramatic return for London Welsh against Bristol tonight – eight months after his last appearance.
Crane starts on the wing for the play-off final first leg clash (7.45), having worked his way back from a severe hamstring injury.
That came on his debut at Nottingham on September 22, which also yielded a try in Welsh’s 46-19 victory.
“I am excited and thankful I got another opportunity to play this season,” said Crane.
“With my injury, I hoped I might get another go, but is always nice to get the call-up.
“I ruptured my hamstring and tore it off the bone.
“I had an operation and was out for five or six months.
“I then had some teething problems coming back – tight hamstrings, tight groins and things like that.”
Crane was loaned to National 1 club Blackheath to find match fitness before finally getting his chance.
“I just kept my head down, trained hard and reaped the rewards,” he said.
“I feel fresh. I guess most people have played a lot of games by this point and have got wear and tear.
“I am eager to play. I want to get out there and show people what I’m about.”
“I am only halfway there. Selection is halfway.
“I have got to front up because obviously I want to play in the next one as well.”
Crane is one of three changes made by head coach Justin Burnell, with No 8 Daniel Browne and scrum half Chris Cook the others.
Seb Stegmann moves from wing to full back to replace Alan Awcock, while back-row forward Richard Thorpe returns on the bench after his red card at Bristol.
Burnell said: “What do people know about Rhys Crane? I wouldn’t have thought a lot.
“I think he will be the surprise package.”
Nick Koster comes in at blindside flanker for Bristol Scrum half Luke Baldwin, hooker Ross Johnston and former England prop Jason Hobson also return.
London Welsh: Stegmann, Crane, May (capt), Jewell, Scott, Ross, Cook, Trevett, Morris, Edwards, Spencer, Corker, P Browne, Kirwan, D Browne. Reps: Vella, Bristow, Tideswell, West, Thorpe, R Lewis, Awcock.
Bristol: Wallace, Watkins, Tovey, Mosses, Short; Robinson, Baldwin, Traynor, Johnston, Hobson, Glynn, Townson, Koster, Mama, Jones (capt). Reps: Lawrence, Hall, Eadie, Skirving, Tipuna, Jarvis, Hughes.
Latest Sport news
11:47am Friday 24th October 2014
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has given special dispensation to Caterham to miss the next two grands prix whilst a buyer is sought for the cash-strapped marque.
5:46pm Friday 24th October 2014
Oxford City have completed the signing of former Royal Antwerp defender Kiko Insa, who will go straight into the side for tomorrow's Vanarama Conference North fixture against Hednesford Town at Marsh Lane.
'Major hope' that Caterham factory in Leafield could re-open despite F1 team also going into administration
1:34pm Friday 24th October 2014
ADMINISTRATORS have been handed full management responsibility for the Caterham Formula One team in a bid to find a new buyer.
11:30am Friday 24th October 2014
THE presence of Andy Whing back in the Oxford United side has prompted other players to raise their game, according to Michael Collins.
11:20am Friday 24th October 2014
KEITH Curle has demanded a strong start from Carlisle United when they host Oxford United at Brunton Park tomorrow.
9:30am Friday 24th October 2014
James Roberts is in no mood to rest on his laurels as the young Oxford United striker looks to feature in a fourth successive game when they visit Carlisle United tomorrow.
9:20am Friday 24th October 2014
ALFIE Potter says the secret to his return to form has been learning to enjoy football again after a difficult spell.
9:10am Friday 24th October 2014
MICHAEL Collins has revealed Oxford United are using a reminder of their hammering at Cambridge United to get fired-up for games.
9:00am Friday 24th October 2014
WILL Hoskins continues to be well ahead of schedule in his recovery from a groin injury.
8:20am Friday 24th October 2014
OXFORD United’s next home game has been designated as Yellow Army Day by the club’s supporters’ group.