Having enjoyed some excellent performances from rounds 10-12, Welsh have found the last three rounds more of a struggle.
Welsh are winless in 3 rounds and struggled last weekend with a number of players absent.
However, Round 16 has heralded a mass return of injured and unavailable players. In the pack: Sam Johnson, Jack Burnett, Ben Bodinham, Rohan Pixley and Rhydian George all return for contention. In the backline: Rhys Howells and Ewan Gully both return to compete for a starting position.
Sutton & Epsom are the visitors this weekend and prior to kick off they sit 11 of 12 in the table on 19 points (2 wins, 2 draws and 9 losses). The reverse fixture in Round 6 was a tight affair, blizzard conditions meant for an error strewn match that ended in a score draw at 15-15 – Welsh snatching the draw with the last kick of the game.
S&E are no strangers to National League Rugby having been in National 2 until the covid impacted season of 19-20 when they were relegated even though they finished 3rd from bottom (not in the bottom 2). London 1 and National 3 have been the main hunting ground for S&E in the modern era, aside from a brief blip in 11/12 when they were relegated to London South West 2 (level 7).
The Rugby Lane side were founded way back in 1881 (4 years prior to Welsh) and their dalliance in National 2 at level 4 is the highest that they have reached in league rugby.
Sutton & Epsom finished last term 11th of 14 in National 3 London Premier (before the league restructure). Our visitors have found this season hard going to date finding themselves on the two relegation spots, on 19 points from 13 games played. They do have the 3rd best home record though for points conceded.
Round 15 was a lot more profitable for Sutton as they gained only their second win of the season at home to Bournemouth.
The poor weather at the end of 2022 means that S&E have two games in hand over Welsh which could bring our visitors a lot closer to Welsh in table if they were to win these matches. However, these matches are 2nd placed Camberley at home and Brighton away (themselves in the mix at the wrong end of the table).
The Exiles trip to Rugby Lane in Round 6 was the only previous meeting between the two sides as competitive 1st XV league level. So, as it stands, neither side has ever beaten the other!
The returning players will prove a real boost to Welsh and a large crowd is expected for the clash. Sadly, the march comes slightly too early for a return for Lima Savaiianaea, Andy Black and Tom Williams who all remain sidelined.
Match day gates will open from 11am and the pre match lunch will begin at 12 midday. The famous London Welsh Choir will be in attendance along with guest speakers. You can book your place HERE for the match day lunch (which comes with free entry to the ground if you are not already a club member) – https://www.londonwelshrfc.com/events-list/
As always with Match Day we encourage everyone to get down early and remind you that parking will be limited as the club will be extremely busy. We also remind members to bring with them their membership cards for free entry to the ground, as well as their discount cards for the bar!
We look forward to seeing all of the #lwfamily on the day! #COYW