With past experience at dealing with the physicality and bravery shown by London Welsh, back-rower Graham Kitchener is expecting more of the same when they face his Leicester Tigers side.
Kitchener, a graduate of Worcester Warriors’ academy, faced up against the Aviva Premiership new boys in the Championship, but insists Welsh have come on leaps and bounds this season.
The 23-year-old didn’t feature in the 38-13 victory on the opening day at the Kassam Stadium but knows with international absentees his side will have to prepare for a harder game than before.
“I played against London Welsh in the Championship while at Worcester and you know you are in for a fight for the full 80 minutes whenever you go up against them,” said Kitchener.
“We played them on the opening day of the season and it was always going to be tough for them having Leicester Tigers to start off with.
“But I think second time around will be slightly different because they have improved and shown what they can do in this league.
“They put their bodies on the line and are very physical and we are under no illusions as to just how tough the game will be.”
In much the same vein, London Welsh no.8 Adam Balding highlighted the clear difference in not only mentality but ability
amongst his ever-improving squad.
The 33-year-old agreed the absence of key players may have an effect on Leicester’s efficiency but it certainly won’t tame the beast with the nine-time English champions looking to bounce back from their LV= Cup exit.
And with a crunch tie against Sale Sharks, currently the side propping up the Aviva Premiership table, Balding hopes to take a lot of positives if not points out of this weekend’s tie at Welford Road.
“They have just come off the back of a big defeat and I know they will be champing at the bit to return to winning ways and we
can only go there and give it our best shot,” said Balding.
“It is a good time to play them perhaps with their international players away. Having said that, they have a wealth of players in
their squad and can bring in some great replacements to worry about.
“Their conveyor belt of talent doesn’t stop and they are all keen to do the shirt of Leicester proud so we all understand it will be a massive challenge for this side.
“We obviously would like to win but we need to focus on picking up as many points as we can because it starts a massive three weeks for us with Sale the following week so hopefully we can get something.”
Welford Road (3pm)
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (59th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Steve Lee, Stuart Terheege.