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London Welsh v London Scottish – Saturday 2pm: Preview

London Welsh v London Scottish – Saturday 2pm: Preview

After a weekend off from league rugby, London Scottish completes the first half of the regular season's campaign with the "Battle of the Exiles" away at our close and long time rivals London Welsh. In what promises to be a very tough and competitive fixture for Scottish, the team over their recent league fixtures has shown sufficient skill and flair to come back over the Park with the points at the final whistle.

After a weekend off from league rugby, London Scottish completes the first half of the regular season’s campaign with the “Battle of the Exiles” away at our close and long time rivals London Welsh. In what promises to be a very tough and competitive fixture for Scottish, the team over their recent league fixtures has shown sufficient skill and flair to come back over the Park with the points at the final whistle.

London Scottish goes into Saturday’s derby match with confidence and heart gained from their recent form, which has seen them gain seven points from their last four fixtures, especially in the way which they dealt with a stubborn and resolute Esher side. London Welsh are in many ways a side Scottish can learn from as they have established themselves as one of the leading contenders for the Championship title. Welsh over the last few seasons have developed a reputation for being a strong outfit which has exploited the pace and rugby skills which is clearly evident across the whole of their squad. They have benefited over recent seasons through their close relationship with the other Exiles team, London Irish and used the dual registration system to introduce a number of very good young Premiership players to bolster their existing squad. Add in a small number of South Sea Island internationalists and it demonstrates why Welsh have been able to make the progression they have achieved year on year.

MPU

For the more senior supporters of Scottish the match on Saturday will bring back many memories of games gone past between these famous old rivals. From the early seventies when both Scottish and Welsh were littered with internationalists and British & Irish Lions players and the matches were sometimes even considered to be international trial matches, through to the last time the teams played one another for league points in the 1989/90 season when Scottish came out on top 18 -14. A repeat of this score line would certainly be welcomed by those following the fortunes of Scottish. The match on Saturday is sure to be well attended and a crowd of over 2000 could well be on the cards. From a form perspective both teams go into this match with differing perspectives, Scottish will be looking to build on the success achieved from their victory over Esher two weeks ago, whereas Welsh will be looking for their first home league success since the 24th of September when they overcame Nottingham 34 -23. Scottish have been on an extensive learning curve since they achieved promotion to the Championship this season and the step up in the quality and intensity of the play has been clear for all who have seen their games so far.

Since we are at the half way point in the regular season we will now take stock of how the league has developed this season. Are the predicted challengers where they expected to be at this point in season or have any of the teams under achieved? Clearly Leeds Carnegie faced challenges as they entered the start of the season and this was reflected in their early season results. Leeds were perceived to one of the major contenders for the title, but their recent results have improved dramatically, but the question now is whether or not their early season dip will hinder their progression back to the Premiership. As for the other early season contenders such as Cornish Pirates, Bedford and Bristol they are more or less in the positions expected, however Bristol have to a certain extent exceeded expectations, given the turbulent last season they encountered.

For Scottish they are currently 10th in the league table and there will be a number of Scottish supporters who will consider that they are unlucky not to be higher. They can point to the two point losses against Pirates and Nottingham and the 9th minute injury try against Plymouth, however they have dusted themselves down, brought quality players in such as internationalists Augstin Gosio and Alfredo Lalanne, together with the exciting prospects in Guy Armitage and Eliot Daly. This season has been a journey, which has some distance to run and the second half of the season will bring more success to Scottish as the players adapt more to the significant step up in standards.

Scottish supporters are reminded that the kick off for the match on Saturday is 2pm, due to Welsh not having floodlights, so make sure you get down to the Old Deer Park early and let’s make the Scottish team hear the fantastic support from the sidelines. A mouth watering game is expected and the team will be looking to make sure that Scottish has the local bragging rights come 4pm on Saturday afternoon. Enjoy the game and see you all there. C’mon Scottish!

To purchase tickets from the London Welsh website, click here.

London Scottish's next home game is against Bristol on Sunday November 27th (kick off 2pm). To purchase tickets online and beat the rush, click here
 

Scot Breaks Scottish Hearts with last kick of the match

Scot Breaks Scottish Hearts with last kick of the match

London Scottish conceded a last minute penalty, which allowed the former Scotland internationalist fly half Gordon Ross give London Welsh a close 18 -16 victory in the 'Battle of the Exiles' match. Scottish put in a tremendous performance against Welsh, as they fought back from a 12 -3 half time deficit. A losing bonus point moved Scottish up to 9th in the league.

London Scottish conceded a last minute penalty, which allowed the former Scotland internationalist fly half Gordon Ross give London Welsh a close 18 -16 victory in the ‘Battle of the Exiles’ match. Scottish put in a tremendous performance against Welsh, as they fought back from a 12 -3 half time deficit. A losing bonus point moved Scottish up to 9th in the league.

On a glorious bright November day, a large crowd of over two thousand witnessed the return of the close rivalry between these two teams.  A last minute change in the Scottish backs saw full back Oli Grove dropping out through injury and in the resultant reshuffle, Agustin Gosio moved to full back with Matt Heeks coming in on the wing.  Given that both Guy Armitage and Eliot Daly were recalled by their Premiership clubs, the Scottish backline taking to the pitch against Welsh was completely reshaped from the one which started against Esher.

MPU

Scottish kicked off playing with the sun in their eyes and Welsh were immediately penalised for coming in offside at a ruck.  Scottish took a quick tap and was clearly intent in maintaining a high tempo in the early stages of the match.  The Scottish attack petered out after a Gosio kick to the corner.  On the 5th minute the Welsh backs had an overlap on the Scottish left side of the field and as they moved the ball through hands, Gosio was yellow carded for deliberately knocking on whilst attempting to intercept a Welsh pass.  With the one man advantage, Welsh exploited this and put the first points on the scoreboard.  The Welsh pack drove up the centre of the pitch, off loading a number of times with the Tongan international centre Hudson Tonga’uiha joining the ruck and eventually emerging with the ball beneath the Scottish posts.  Ross added the extras for Welsh to put them 7 – 0 ahead.

The Welsh backs were looking to exploit the gaps in the Scottish defence and their full back Seb Jewell made a great run, however a penalty at the ruck denied Welsh the opportunity to gain further advantage.  Scottish dug in during the period they were down to 14 players and prevented Welsh from adding any further points.  On the 13th minute, the Scottish pack began to show the first sign of their dominance in the set piece when the Welsh pack were penalised for standing up at a scrum, which would become a constant theme throughout the match.  As the match moved into the second quarter a good up and under by Gosio into the Welsh half was collected by flanker Ben Lonergan.  The ball was eventually moved back to fly half James Brown who pulled his drop goal attempt wide of the posts.  On the 35th minute Welsh were penalised for diving over the top of a ruck on their 10 metre line and Brown reduced the arrears to 7 – 3.
Welsh scored their second try of the match from a Scottish mistake at a lineout when the ball was thrown long, which allowed flanker Mike Denbee to pounce on the loose ball.  The ball was fed out to the Welsh backs, who passed it through hands out to winger Joe Ajuwa who drove over in the corner.  Ross missed the conversion attempt.  The first half could easily be summed up as being littered with unforced errors by both sides.

Welsh kicked off the second period and were immediately penalised for holding on at a ruck.  Scottish clearly had been spoken to during the half time break and came out with a more positive attitude.  On the 44th minute Scottish winger David Howells intercepted a wayward pass by the Welsh centre Simon Whatling as they were attacking on the Scottish 22 metre line. Howells raced 60 metres down the park with the Welsh defence trailing in his wake to touch down beneath the posts.  Brown converted to put Scottish well and truly back in the match at 12 – 10. Shortly later Scottish were penalised for not rolling away at the ruck in their 22 metre, with Ross nudging Welsh further ahead at 15 – 10.  The Scottish forwards now began to exert an ever increasing authority in the match and at an overthrown Welsh ball at a lineout in their 22 metre area, allowed Scottish forwards to test the Welsh defence to the full as the ball was re-cycled a number of times.  Full credit to Welsh, whose defence held firm during a period of intense Scottish forwards pressure.  On the 73rd minute the Welsh scrum was yet again penalised for a front row infringement as their front row was buckling under the pressure being generated by the Scottish pack.  Brown took the conversion attempt on the Welsh 10 metre line with the ball just having the legs to get over the uprights.

As the match moved towards the 80th minute another scrum was awarded to Scottish for a forward pass.  As the scrums packed down the Welsh forwards were penalised for the eighth time in the match for infringements at the scrum.  Brown stepped forward to take the penalty attempt close to spot where he had converted his previous one.  As the ball soared between the posts it gave Scottish the lead in the match for the first time 15 – 16.  However, the match was not over and from the re-start Scottish retained possession, but they were penalised for holding onto the ball in the tackle.  Ross with the last kick of the match produced the coup d’état and give Welsh the victory.

Close but not close enough for Scottish, but a losing bonus point at one of the teams who have aspirations of attaining the Premiership, just goes to prove that Scottish have the ability and organisation to develop in the Championship.  The difference between the fully professional Welsh side and Scottish became evident in the closing minutes of the game, with a number of the Scottish players suffering from cramp through their valiant efforts.  The losing bonus point moved Scottish up to 9th in the league and as the league campaign moves into the second half, Scottish will no doubt have more victories if the performance against Welsh is anything to go by.  The Scottish supporter’s turnout was tremendous at the match and they can now look forward to the home fixture against Bristol on Sunday the 27th November. Look out for the match preview later in the week.

Malcolm Roberston selected James Brown for the Jock Meikle sponsored away supporters Man of the Match award.

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