The second half of the season was due to start just before the Christmas break with a visit from one of our fellow Exile teams but a last minute change in the RFU’s covid regulations caused the match to be postponed. Our two clubs met in the second round of matches on a glorious day at Hazelwood and Welsh ran in four tries to win 31-5,
The result was still in the balance at half time with a narrow 11-5 lead but a much improved second half pushed London Welsh further ahead without the home team being able to add any further points. The try scorers that day were Ben West, Paulo Peschisolido, Liam Chennels and Jack Anderson with Osian McAvoy adding a conversion and three penalties.
Irish have won just three games this season, all of which have been at home. London Cornish fell to them 22-16, Cobham were beaten by one point whilst KCS Old Boys also finished within a single score. The defeats have been heavier though with the biggest an 89-0 home loss against Camberley. The new year looked promising with the narrowest of defeats at home to Medway (24-25) but since then three straight defeats, including 26-10 at London Cornish, have kept Irish in the penultimate league spot with 18 league points and a points difference of -322. They are eight points ahead of bottom placed London Cornish but with no relegation the pressure is off this season.
London Welsh come into this game off the back of a disappointing result at home to Camberley who inflicted the first home league defeat since March 2017. The team will be looking to turn this around against Irish and keep up the push to finish the season as league champions. After the last round of fixtures Welsh remain top of the league with a one point margin over Camberley. Medway hold third place and have edged away from Hammersmith & Fulham.
On the injury front: Sion Cowdy continues on the rehab trail and will be joined by Club Captain Chris Lilly, fly half Lloyd Davies and Kiwi flanker Tim Ross on the sidelines with injury. However, the Round 19 Match should see the long awaited return of hooker Jack Burnett has been out with injury since early November 2021.There is a slight injury concern over Paolo Peschisolido as the top try scorer suffered a bruised rib in Round 18.
Kick off is at the earlier time of midday with the pre match lunch converting to an Irish themed guiness breakfast; the bars will be open with the Six Nations matches shown during the afternoon.