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LV= Cup Preview: London Welsh v Saracens

Saracens wing Mike Ellery insists London Welsh cannot be taken lightly when the two teams clash in the LV= Cup at the Kassam Stadium on Sunday.

The Exiles have lost all 13 Aviva Premiership Rugby matches this season and remain winless in the LV= Cup ahead of welcoming Sarries.

But despite their disappointing season to date, Saracens’ Ellery says London Welsh have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks.

The Exiles rallied late on against Lyon in Europe last time out with Rob Lewis and Koree Britton tries making for a tense final five minutes – but the scoreline would ultimately end up 17-12 to the French side.

And Ellery claims Sarries have to be wary of their ever-improving opponents.

“To be fair, London Welsh are starting to come together, they’ve played together for a few months now and we’re fully aware of the threats they pose,” he said.

“Their losing run won’t be playing on our minds, we won’t be concerning ourselves with whether we could be the first to trip up, we’re just concentrating on ourselves.

“We have to have a positive mindset, we know Welsh are a good team and are starting to gel.

“They have quite a big pack, and it will be our job to kill that at source. They are also very dangerous at the set-piece. To be fair they have dangerous players all over the park on their day.

“It is hard to make that step up to Aviva Premiership Rugby, but I believe they are starting to come together really well.”

Exiles head coach Justin Burnell has reshuffled his team, opting for 12 changes to the starting XV that took on Lyon – with versatile back Alex Davies set to return after nine months out.

Team captain Tom May returns to the starting line-up at outside centre while Alan Awcock and Nick Scott come in on the wings.

The forwards also have a new look with Nathan Trevett and Taione Vea joining Britton in the front row.

Saracens cantered to a 78-7 Aviva Premiership victory the last time the two sides met back in December, while they have yet to lose in the LV= Cup this season.

Fly-half Nils Mordt captains the side and there is certainly an international flavour with USA international Thretton Palamo playing in the centre and Romanian international Catalin Fercu starting at full-back.

"It's going to be weird on Sunday, doing all the pre-match stuff and even just getting on the team bus to the Kassam Stadium," said the returning Davies, who has been suffering with a knee injury. "It will be nine months since I was on the team bus with the boys."

Tickets for this year's LV= Cup Final on 22 March at Franklin's Gardens are now on sale. Click here to snap one up from just £20 for adults, £10 for juniors to see who will win the first silverware of the season.

 

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