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RUGBY UNION: Burnell rings changes as Welsh bid for hat-trick
10:00am Saturday 28th September 2013 in Sport
Head coach Justin Burnell continues to rotate his squad as London Welsh play their first home game of the Greene King IPA Championship campaign today.
The Exiles, second in the table, entertain Plymouth Albion at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium this afternoon (2.30) looking for a third straight win against a side who are unbeaten this season.
Burnell, who made five changes ahead of last week’s win over Nottingham, switches nine players for the clash, despite his side’s 100 per cent start.
In the backs, Nick Scott makes his first appearance after recovering from injury.
Ollie Frost comes in at scrum half for his first competitive start for the Exiles.
Peter Browne is the only forward to keep his place.
Cai Griffiths makes his first league start for the club – after coming on off the bench against Bedford and the Green & Whites – as do Mike Denbee, James Tideswell and Nathan Morris.
On the bench, Alex Davies, who spent three seasons at Brickfields, is set to make his first appearance since picking up an injury in the opening moments of the Exiles’ pre-season friendly at Chinnor.
Unavailable due to injury are Hudson Tonga’uiha, Joe Ajuwa, Rhys Crane, Nathan Trevett, Richard Thorpe and Rob Andrew.
“There’s been a really good buzz in training this week,” said Burnell.
“The players are really looking forward to getting back to the Kassam on Saturday and playing in front of our home support – they can’t wait for it,”
“I’m still not convinced we’ve got clear in our own minds what our strongest XV is yet – hence the changes for the visit of Plymouth.
“That’s a reflection of the strength in depth we have and for me that’s another huge plus, and bodes well for the season.
“And that’s not just based on match performances, but on how well and hard the players are training in midweek. There’s been no drop off in the work-rate.”
The sides met twice during Welsh’s Championship winning season of 2011/12 with the Exiles coming out on top on both occasions – a 24-9 win at Brickfields and a 34-23 victory at Old Deer Park.
The Exiles have won the last four meetings between the sides with Albion’s last victory coming in November 2009 in a 26-12 scoreline at Old Deer Park.
London Welsh: Jewell, Scott, J Lewis, May (capt), Stegmann, Ross, Frost, Tideswell, Morris, Griffiths, Corker, P Browne, D Browne, Denbee, Stedman. Reps: Titterrell, Moss, Edwards, West, Kirwan, Davies, Mama.
Plymouth Albion: Elder, Bowen, Howley-Berridge, Nonu, Woods, Mugford, Cushion, Harrison, McGregor, Morton, Beukeboom, Williams, Stephen, Langley, Oakley. Reps: Evans, Rogers, Shields, Ascroft-Leigh, Shanahan, Rowley, Stevens.
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