European debut excites Exile Mills
October 12, 2012
Jonathan Mills has won many plaudits for his start to the season © Getty Images
London Welsh captain Jonathan Mills could hardly contain his excitement as he spoke on the eve of their first European adventure.
A year ago the Exiles were set for a home Championship clash against Rotherham but on Saturday their opponents will be Paris glamour club Stade Francais in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
The Pool Five encounter at Kassam Stadium represents another red-letter day for Exiles, who have already collected ten Aviva Premiership points this season following victories over Exeter and Sale Sharks, plus two losing bonuses.
"It is amazing to be playing in Europe and it is great to be coming up against such a great European team as Stade Francais," Mills said. "It will be fantastic going to places like Paris and Grenoble and Prato in Italy - quite a difference from places like Rotherham and Doncaster, where we were playing last year.
"It is a big plus for us to start with a home game, and if we can get a result then that will set us up for the rest of the pool stages. Winning your home games is crucial, and with just the five group winners qualifying for the quarter-finals we know we will have to pick up some points on the road."
Coach Lyn Jones has rung the changes following a busy period of Premiership action, but Wales international Gavin Henson is retained at fly-half for his second start in Exiles colours.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton
Wales were just 13 minutes from a famous victory, but the lessons to be learned in defeat are almost exactly the same as those from previous near-misses, writes Huw Richards
Ahead of England's clash with Samoa, Scrum Sevens takes a wander down memory lane and celebrates seven examples of Pacific Islands magic
England must find a way to improve their game by tiny margins and they will get there, writes Phil Vickery