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LV= Cup preview: Harlequins v Newport Gwent Dragons

Tim Swiel only arrived at the Stoop last week and he’s vying to make an impact in his potential home debut against Newport Gwent Dragons in the LV= Cup.

Swiel, 21, has been brought in on loan from Natal Sharks by Conor O’Shea as back-up for Nick Evans at fly-half – and he showed a glimpse of what he could do as a replacement in defeat to Saracens last weekend.

With a full week under his belt O’Shea could well decide to throw him into the starting XV as Quins go for what could be a make-or-break victory against the Dragons.

And though Swiel is only at the Stoop until February, he wants to be more than a fleeting memory in South West London.

“The LV= Cup is a great opportunity for me, I’ve just arrived and I’ve got the chance to be involved in games straight away,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate that we lost on the weekend and we came so close to a comeback, but I was pleased to be involved and hopefully I’ll improve week on week.

“Friday is the chance for a first home game for me and I want to do the fans proud because it might be the first they’ve seen of me, and also perform well as a group. I don’t have any experience against Welsh teams but you know how physical they can be.

“There’s three competitions for me – the Premiership, LV= Cup and in Europe – and though there’ll be boys to come back from the internationals there are a lot of games to go around. I want to play as much as I can, I prefer fly-half but I can play full-back too. It’s an exciting time.”

The Dragons themselves are looking for a kickstart to the season, with just one Pro12 victory from seven games after being dealt a cruel hand with injuries.

But in their stead new talent is coming to the fore and few more exciting than fly-half Angus O’Brien, who has impressed in both domestic and European encounters this season.

And O’Brien is relishing the opportunity to keep his own personal momentum rolling at the Stoop.

"It's my first season in the senior environment so I've found that I've learned a lot already and am learning all the time," he said. "I think for me the biggest change stepping up has just been playing with bigger and better players.

"They are faster, stronger and more aggressive and if you aren't on your game you get found out. But this is right where I want to be and I'm really looking forward to getting some minutes under my belt and experiencing the LV= Cup.

"The LV= Cup will be another chance for the younger boys to show what they can do and see what it's like to play at the highest level.

"We've got a tough match against Harlequins who are one of the top four sides in England but it's a great stadium to go and play in and that's a match that we will all be looking forward to playing in."
 
For your definitive guide to the LV= Cup click here

Be part of the rugby family at the LV= Cup Final at Franklin's Gardens, Northampton on Sunday 22 March. Visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk for tickets

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