RUGBY UNION: Honeymoon is over - Mills

Oxford Mail: James Haskell, picked for England’s squad this week, is playing for London Wasps against London Welsh tomorrow James Haskell, picked for England’s squad this week, is playing for London Wasps against London Welsh tomorrow

London Welsh’s Aviva Premiership honeymoon period is well and truly over, said captain Jonathan Mills ahead of their historic clash against London Wasps at High Wycombe tom-orrow.

It’s the first league contest between these two famous London clubs.

Before league rugby was introduced some 25 years ago, the clubs played regular friendly fixtures, which were anything but, being mini-internationals between England and Wales.

When league rugby came in, London Welsh went into decline.

Now Welsh, based at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford, are well and truly back in the big time.

The Exiles have confounded the critics to win two of their first six games in the Premiership.

“The honeymoon period is over for everyone,” said Mills.

“Now we’re really going to see just how good every side is.

“With the weather beginning to close in there’s going to be a lot of dogfights, but we’re up for those matches.

“If anything it might suit us given the way we’ve played a few times this season and help us get a few more wins, rather than just bonus points.”

Welsh ended a three- match losing streak last week, thanks to Alex Davies’s 79th-minute penalty which gave Lyn Jones’s side a 32-31 win over Cavalieri Prato in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

For that match, Jones, who says he is excited about the ‘derby’ clash with Wasps, gave a number of his first choice players a rest

“It gave the chance for our squad players to play at first-team level and gave them a chance to impress,” said Jones, who declined to single out players.

Mills, who sat out last weekend’s trip to Italy, said: “It was good to get the win in Italy to allow us to take a bit of momentum into next weekend at Wasps, who are a very good team.

“This season they signed the likes of James Haskell, Tom Palmer and Stephen Jones, so they’ve some quality individuals in their team. “They’ll be looking for a home win this weekend, I’ve no doubt.”

It’s the start of a big seven days for Welsh, with Bath to follow a week later at the Kassam Stadium.

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