London Scottish are all set to kick start the new decade by taking on Bedford Blues at home under the Friday night lights, kick off 7:45pm.
Head coach Graham Steadman has only made one change to the starting line-up that beat Jersey Reds 10-13 away at the end of last year. Bobby Beattie comes in for an injured Elliott Creed at outside centre.
The replacements bench remains the same with Ollie Adams, Ryan Eveleigh, Phil Cringle, Matas Jurevicius, Mark Bright, Charlie Gowling, Harry Sheppard and Dan Barnes all looking to state their claim for starting spots.
Scrum-half Josh Barton will start the countdown to his 50th cap in a Scottish shirt with only 10 more appearances to make before hitting the half century. Another player hoping to reach the same milestone this season is Matt Eliet, playing at number 8 this week, will make his 45th appearance for the club.
Both full-back Luke Hibberd and inside-centre Matt Gordon have started in all but one of our 13 matches so far this season and each have scored 20 points apiece. Keep your eyes open for these two dynamic ball carriers.
Looking back at the Jersey fixture Steadman said: “The togetherness that the team showed in the last five minutes of that match was very pleasing and it puts us in a good position going forward. I’ve shown the boys the footage of our defence in that period to remind them what we’re about.”
It’s the first time the two sides will have played each other this season. Speaking about his side’s opponents this week Steadman said: “We need to be respectful of them. Even though they’ve had an indifferent start to the season, we know what threats they possess and we certainly can’t treat them with any complacency or disrespect.
“They’re a quality outfit and I think what you have to look at is the consistency that they’ve shown in this league over the past few years. They’ve always been a top five team and they’ll be looking to reignite their season to our expense. I like to think that won’t happen!”
The last match the Exiles played at home was November 15th against Cornish Pirates, where they came out on top with a memorable victory. A lot of travelling has been involved since then with away fixtures to Yorkshire Carnegie, Nottingham, Cornish Pirates and Jersey Reds.
“It’s great to be to be back at home. We haven’t had a match at home for a while, so the players are certainly excited. The vocal support the Scottish faithful generates a fab atmosphere and the boys will hopefully repay them with a good win and give them something to cheer about. The weather is looking quite favourable too, so it should be an entertaining game,” said Steadman.
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15. Luke Hibberd
14. Rob Stevenson
13. Bobby Beattie
12. Matt Gordon
11. Jonas Mikalcius
10. Will Magie
9. Josh Barton
1. Jordan Brodely
2. James Malcolm
3. Kyle Whyte
4. Nodar Cheishvili
5. Alex Toolis
6. Luke Frost
7. Lewis Wynne ©
8. Matt Eliet
REPLACEMENTS: 16. Ollie Adams, 17. Ryan Evilly, 18. Phil Cringle, 19. Matas Jurevicius, 20. Mark Bright, 21. Charlie Gowling, 22. Harry Sheppard, 23. Dan Barnes