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RUGBY UNION: Scarlets test gives Welsh squad chance to impress
LONDON Welsh’s prep-arations for the new season will go up several gears when they host Llanelli Scarlets at the Kassam Stadium tom-orrow (2).
That is the view of club captain Matt Corker, whose side hammered Chinnor 107-5 in their opening warm-up match at Kingsey Road.
Lock Corker said Sunday’s match was vital for players to stake a claim ahead of the Greene King IPA Championship season, which begins on September 14.
“We were very grateful for the fixture against Chinnor,” said Corker. “It was a really good opportunity for us to try a few things.
“But playing against a team who have Heineken Cup rugby this season like the Scarlets is going to be very difficult and we are excited by that.
“We narrowly lost at their place last year, so it will be good to test ourselves against them again.”
The match will be the first time head coach Justin Burnell and assistant Gordon Ross lead their side at home.
Corker said: “We have got a new coaching team and quite a few new faces among the players.
“At this stage of the season, the coaches are making their opinions up on you.
“If you don’t put your hand up now, you will have to wait for another chance.
“It is important for everyone to show what they can do.”
New signings Tom May, Ollie Steadman, Mitch Lees, Nathan Trevett and Pete Browne scored tries against Chinnor, with fellow debutant Will Robinson kicking five conversions.
And Corker believes the squad are well placed to shine, despite so many players having left after relegation from the Premiership.
“There has been a fairly high turnover, but I don’t think that will affect us moving forward,” he said.
“The club has been making some really astute signings.
“Even when we won the Championship last year, I would say our squad wasn’t as strong. We have players with a bit more experience.
“However, the league has become more professional in that time.
“Bristol have recruited well and invested a lot of money, but we want to challenge them.”
As for his own role, Corker said: “We want to make sure we make a mark and achieve in this league.
“I am prepared to do anything that is needed for that to happen.
“On and off the field, I feel like I am able to offer a leadership role as I have got a lot of experience.
“Sometimes the younger guys will need a clip round the ear and I can do that.”
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