1:29pm Friday 7th February 2014
By Michael Stafford-Jones
London Welsh and Rotherham Titans go head-to-head this Sunday in a mouth-watering clach between the IPA Championship’s top two.
The second-placed exiles are boosted by the return of captain and former England international Tom May, who missed last weekend’s 36-15 defeat at seventh-placed Plymouth.
The players are still hurting after that defeat, and would do well to channel their pain into aggression for arguably the toughest game they will face all season.
London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell said: “We were bitterly disappointed with last weekend’s game.
"That’s taking nothing away from Plymouth, but it was certainly one of our darkest days.”
Burnell has made significant changes to his line-up for the Rotherham match, with backs Seb Jewell, Will Robinson and Rob Lewis, and forwards James Tideswell and Ben West all coming in.
By contrast, league leaders Rotherham will be full of confidence as they look to continue their impressive nine-game winning streak - a run stretching back to mid-November.
Their most recent success was a hard-fought win over Moseley last weekend, which saw them battle cold and blustery conditions to achieve a 16-6 scoreline.
Exiles head coach Burnell is keen for his players to put the Plymouth result behind them and focus on regaining top spot from Rotherham this Sunday.
Burnell said: “No excuses, we just didn’t turn up, we didn’t perform. Plymouth were the better team on the day and worthy winners.
“But for London Welsh it’s something I don’t want to see it happen again.
“It’s all about this weekend for us now and Sunday’s top of the table clash with Rotherham.
“How do we rectify last weekend? Put in a good performance against the league leaders. It couldn’t be a better opportunity and I think it will be a very entertaining contest, but these are the games we want to win and we have to win.
“I didn’t have to even mention the Plymouth game this week and the intensity and attitude in training hasn’t been as good all season.”
Kick off at the Kassam stadium is 2.30pm
London Welsh: 15. Seb Jewell, 14. Seb Stegmann, 13. Tom May (C), 12. Sonny Parker, 11. Alan Awcock, 10. Will Robinson, 9. Rob Lewis, 1. Nathan Trevett, 2. Nathan Vella, 3. James Tideswell, 4. Ben West, 5. Peter Browne, 6. Mitch Lees, 7. Carl Kirwan, 8. Richard Thorpe.
Replacements: 16. Nathan Morris, 17. Alec Hepburn, 18. Cai Griffiths, 19. Ian Nimmo, 20. Ben Pienaar, 21. Alex Davies, 22. Nick Scott.
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