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Preview: London Welsh v Saracens

Preview: London Welsh v Saracens

A healthy Schalk Brits could be just the man Saracens need heading into Aviva Premiership Rugby’s semi-finals but the hooker has refused to look beyond this week’s encounter with London Welsh.

Sarries suffered a setback in their bid to return to the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals in Round 21, falling to defeat at the hands of fellow top-four hopefuls Exeter Chiefs.

However, the fact remains that Saracens are firm favourites against London Welsh this weekend – and the semi-final race could well go down to who scores the most points.

With Saracens and Chiefs level on wins, the latter currently hold fourth spot by the slenderest of margins, with a superior points difference of three.

Leicester Tigers are also in the mix just one point ahead in third and Brits, who is easing back into action after recovering from a knee injury, is leaving nothing to chance against the Exiles.

“After a disappointing weekend, we’ve got everything to play for and it’s still all in our hands,” he said. “We’ve just got to go out and play the game of rugby that we know we can play – we’re looking forward to it.

“It’s easy to get yourself pumped up for a game like this – there is so much riding on it that we need to perform.

“We need a bit of momentum going into hopefully the semis and the final as well.

“I don’t really have any preference as to who we play in the semi-finals if we make it, but more than likely it will be the Saints.

“At the moment we’re just looking to get into the semi-finals and then whoever we play the weekend after, we’ll prepare and give them a good go as well.

“The biggest threat from London Welsh is that it’s their last game in the Premiership and there’s a couple of great players leaving the club, so they’ll want to say goodbye on the right note.”

The game at the Kassam Stadium will also be a memorable one for different reasons as retiring centre Tom May waves goodbye after a fantastic career.

May’s career has taken him to Newcastle Falcons and Northampton Saints and though his last season with the Exiles won’t go down as his most successful, he’s confident the club will emerge all the stronger.

"Steps have already been made for next season, and I think some of the results this year haven't reflected that 40 or 50 minutes of really competitive rugby we've put in,” he said.

"The first half against Northampton reads very differently from the rest of the game, but if you can only compete for that long you're going to get thumped by Premiership teams.

"But these are all things to be working on and hopefully the lessons will be felt next year.

"To end my career playing Northampton and Saracens, you can't ask for two better teams to go out against. I'm massively looking forward to one final challenge.

"We're used to being up against it and the challenge is there – let's make them work for it and take it to them for once, that's the mentality we'll have."

Kassam Stadium, 3.30pm

Referee: Luke Pearce (39th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Darren Gamage and Nigel Carrick. TMO: Trevor Fisher.

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