The Exiles head down the M2 this Saturday to take on Canterbury RFC of National League 2, in the the second instalment of pre season matches for 2023/24.
Canterbury have one big link with London Welsh in the form of club legend Matt Corker. Matt sits 9th in the all-time record Appearances list for London Welsh with 247 games over the best part of 10 years! We look forward to reconnecting and reminiscing with our former Club Captain.
The game provides Cai Griffiths with the opportunity to rotate his large performance squad and to take a look at some new faces (and old) that did not feature in the match against RGC on 5th August. Interestingly, having the benefit of reviewing the RGC sides that took on (and this weekend take on) Sale FC and Doncaster respectively, it is encroaching to see that half of the team that faced Welsh looks to be the 1st choice selection for the Welsh Premiership side; with Welsh leading at the break in that match and more than holding their own.
We will see first Appearances of the season this week for Adam Nixon (Captain on the day from 9), Sam Johnson (TH) big Ed Couzens (2nd row), Charlie Bramble (2nd Row) and Rhydian George at 7. In the back line there are no less than 5 changes allowing the coaching team to see what all players in the squad have to offer. There are exciting noises being made over Jack Cohen in the back 3, signed from Medway playing in Nat 3 last season and scoring 9 tries, he looks quick and direct and no doubt will be hunting for a place in the starting team for 2 September. It is good to see Jacob Butler appear on the bench as the classy player and crowd favourite appears for the first time since a nasty injury ended his season back in December last year.
There is no place today in the squad for Tololima Savaiinaea as the Samoan is away on 7s duty abroad. Jack Parkhurt sees out his final week of HIA precautions and is missing from the front row. Regan Botham and Rohan Pixley both miss out, the latter starting for the Druids.
In terms of longer term absentees: No.8 Tom Williams has not played for a year but is injury free and pre season has been progressing well! It is hoped that he will be fit for the start of the league season. Ewan Gully continues rehab on his ankle and should appear before the end of September. Jack Anderson is making good progress after his fractured knee socket in game week 3 last season way back in Septmebr 2022! It is hoped that we will see Jack in the first half of the season.
In exciting much anticipated news: our two new overseas recruits arrive next week with Connor Botha (Hooker) landing from Sout Africa and fresh from a French D2 season. Second row and Australian Shute Shield man Tom Douglas arrives on 1 September following the end of the finals campaign down under.
Back to the order of the day: Welsh have met Canterbury only once before. On the 5th of Novmber 2005, our hosts made the trip to ODP to play a then Championship (level 2) Exiles side in the National Trophy 3rd round. Canterbury were then a London 1 (then level 5) side and suffered a 71-8 defeat. Let’s hope that this weekend is equally as entertaining for the Welsh faithful.
Canterbury struggled at the start of last season in Nat 2, Before coming through strongly by the end of the season; not too dissimilar to London Welsh in Nat 3 last time around.
Remember, as ever, that all of the action will be LIVE on the club Twitter (X) ACCOUNT! So head over for KO at 2pm.