London Scottish hand starting places to eight summer signings this evening when the Richmond outfit head to Premiership and Heineken Cup runners-up Saracens for their opening pre-season friendly.
Mark Lilley, Stewart Maguire, Adam Preocanin, Tai Tuisamoa, James Phillips, Peter Lydon, Matt Williams and Errie Claassens will wear London Scottish colours for the first time following ten weeks of pre-season.
On loan Bristol prop Lilley can’t wait to get out on to the field at Allianz Park this evening, 7.30pm kick-off, and sees the friendly as a great challenge for London Scottish – one that they will have to get used to if they are to achieve their goals come the end of the season.
The 27-year-old said: “It’s going to be a fast and exciting game because of the artificial pitch and a great challenge for the boys.
“Sarries are one of the best clubs around so to be playing them away from home is pretty awesome.
“Of course we always want to win but the pre-season games are also be about getting into our structure as there are plenty of new players. We all need to gel together and this will be the perfect time to do that.”
He added: “We have a target of reaching the top four, things have been coming together nicely over pre-season, so we’re all really excited to get going.”
Another debutant Errie Claassens is also thrilled at the prospect of facing Saracens this evening.
“This is a great opportunity to test ourselves against the best, and a chance to have a go at them,” he said.
“We have to capitalise on our hard work in pre-season during the games against Saracens, Esher and Glasgow Warriors, ahead of the league opener against Rotherham Titan next month. There are not many bigger challenges than facing Saracens first up.”
Watch head coach James Buckland's LSTV preview here.
Listen to Oli Grove's pre-match interview here.
London Scottish host Esher on Saturday, August 23, 3pm kick-off and Glasgow Warriors on Saturday, August 30, 3pm kick-off before opening their Greene King IPA Championship campaign against Rotherham Titans at the Athletic Ground on Saturday, September 6, 3pm kick-off.
Tickets for all three matches and hospitality for the Glasgow Warriors and Rotherham Titans fixtures can be purchased online here or by calling the Commercial team on 020 3397 9551.
London Scottish team to face Saracens on Friday, August 15, 7.30pm kick-off at Allianz Park.
15. Errie Claassens, 14. Matt Williams, 13. Oli Grove, 12. PJ Gidlow, 11. Miles Mantella, 10. Peter Lydon, 9. Jamie Stevenson, 1. Mark Lilley, 2. Adam Kwasnicki, 3. Stewart Maguire, 4. Tai Tuisamoa, 5. Adam Preocanin, 6. Mark Bright, 7. Neil Best, 8. James Phillips.
Replacements: 16. James Hallam, 17. Todd Gleave (hooker, trialist), 18. Ben Prescott, 19. Freddie Clarke (back-five, trialist), 20. Ben Calder, 21. Lee Millar, 22. Mike Doneghan, 23. Ross Doneghan, 24. Alec Coombes (centre/wing, trialist), 25. Dan Newton, 26. Max Maidment, 27. Lovejoy Chawatama, 28. David Cherry.
Unavailable due to injury: Jim Thompson, Ben Russell, Josh Thomas Brown, Fed Silcock, Chevvy Pennycook, Matt Heeks.
Saracens team: 15. Ben Ransom, 14. Jack Wilson, 13. Duncan Taylor, 12. Chris Wyles, 11. David Strettle; 10. Charlie Hodgson, 9. Ben Spencer, 1. Rhys Gill, 2. Scott Spurling, 3. Petrus Du Plessis, 4. Jim Hamilton, 5. George Kruis, 6. Maro Itoje, 7. Will Fraser, 8. Jackson Wray.
Replacements: 16. Jared Saunders, 17. Richard Barrington, 18. Biyi Alo, 19. Hayden Smith, 20. Mouritz Botha, 21. Matt Hankin, 22. Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 23. Henry Taylor, 24. Nils Mordt, 25. Max Wilkins, 26. Nick Tompkins, 27. George Perkins, 28. Nathan Earle.