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Ajuwa survives the London Welsh axe ahead of Pontypridd visit
London Welsh make 12 changes for Sunday’s British & Irish Cup fixture with Pontypridd at the Kassam Stadium.
Joe Ajuwa is the only survivor in the backs from last Saturday’s win at Jersey, while Mike Denbee and Ollie Stedman keep their places in the back row. Rob Lewis captains a side which includes ex-Pontypridd centre Sonny Parker.
The Exiles go in to the game just three points behind both Pontypridd and London Scottish in Pool 2 and will be looking to build on their 33-26 victory at Jersey, which them back to the top of the Greene King IPA Championship table.
When the sides met at Sardis Road in October, Pontypridd came out on top 29-22.
“Sunday is about the squad and it’s another opportunity to see just how strong it is, but we’re under no illusions Pontypridd are a very good side,” said London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell.
“We’ll be going all out on Sunday to make sure we qualify for the quarter-finals.
“We were absolutely devastated to lose at home last time out to London Scottish in front of our home crowd, so Sunday is also about getting back to the Kassam and putting in a performance for our supporters.
“We made 10 changes for the Jersey game and this week we’ve made 12m but we’re taking nobody lightly we’ve averaged six or seven changes all season. It’s the squad that will put us in the top four of the Championship, not just a strong 15, and there’s a very long way to go yet.
“Jersey was all about getting a performance, off the back of two very disappointing losses and underachieving within those games.
“We knew how good a side Jersey were but our mind-set before the game was the best it’s been all season, hence scoring three fantastic tries within 30 minutes.
“The disappointing part was not getting the bonus point - we had enough opportunities. But in terms of getting back on track the first 60 minutes was a massive plus.”
Sunday’s meeting will be the 11th between the clubs, with Pontypridd currently edging the head-to-head with six wins to the Exiles’ four.
London Welsh: 15. Nick Scott, 14. Joe Ajuwa, 13. James Lewis, 12. Sonny Parker*, 11. James Tincknell, 10. Will Robinson, 9. Rob Lewis (C), 1. Billy Moss, 2. Kevin Davis, 3. Peter Edwards, 4. Ben West 5. Ian Nimmo 6. Richard Thorpe, 7. Mike Denbee, 8. Ollie Stedman.
Replacements: 16. Nathan Morris, 17, Alec Hepburn, 18, Cai Griffiths, 19. Will Carrick-Smith, 20. Carl Kirwan, 21. Ollie Frost, 22. Seb Jewell.
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