RUGBY UNION: West out to stake a claim

The Oxford Times: Ben West in action for London Welsh Ben West in action for London Welsh

BEN West hopes another strong showing at Edinburgh Academical today can keep him in the first-team picture at London Welsh.

West again starts at lock in the British & Irish Cup fixture, eager to stake a claim for when the Exiles resume Greene King IPA Championship action against London Scottish next week.

The 21-year-old was praised by head coach Justin Burnell for his performance in Welsh’s 73-10 hammering of Edinburgh.

But West, who joined from National 1 side Cinderford last summer, knows he has his work cut out to become a league regular at his new club.

“I want to take every opportunity I can to push my case forward,” said West.

“If I can knuckle down and do my best, hopefully I can put my name in the picture for London Scottish.

“I think the cup has come at the right time to make an impression.

“It has been a big step-up if I am honest, especially with the organisation and knowledge required.

“But it is a really good environment to learn in.”

West feels the strength of Welsh’s squad should make them favourites today and that will be helped by players like himself, who are hungry for more.

“If you play well in these sorts of games, then the results will take care of themselves,” said West.

“Fringe players like myself are really keen to impress and hopefully we can do that again on Saturday.”

West’s chances of first-team action were made even harder by the signing of giant lock Will Carrick-Smith, who has joined on loan from Exeter.

However, he said: “You see someone come in and it makes you work that little bit harder to make sure you are not the one to get the chop.”

West felt Welsh bounced back well against Edinburgh Academical after losing at Bedford.

“Coming on the back of the Bedford game, where we were not very happy with our performance, we had a lot to work on,” he said.

“It was not so much the score that pleased us against Edinburgh, but the way we played, stuck to our game plan and were clinical.”

It is unlikely that Welsh will manage such an emphatic victory at Raeburn Place today.

West said: “They won’t want to be on the end of another 70-point scoreline.”

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