London Welsh eye upset win
August 1, 2012
Saracens' Nils Mordt, London Welsh's Ashley Smith, Bath's Tom Biggs, Sale's Johnny Leota, Gloucester's Jonny May and London Irish's Sailosi Tagicakibau pose ahead of the J.P. Morgans 7s finale © Getty Images
London Welsh captain Ashley Smith is backing his side to upset the odds and claim the J.P. Morgan 7s title at The Rec on Friday night.
The Premiership newcomers stunned heavyweights Leicester and Northampton as well as hosts Sale on their way to the title-decider and in the process, the Exiles' set two new tournament records with their total haul of 19 tries from their three pool matches and the 52 points they amassed in their win over the Tigers.
Skipper Smith is confident of another strong showing when the destination of the first piece of silverware this season is decided. "Friday is going to be tough," he admitted, "but we're looking forward to the challenge. We know it's going to be hard, but I'm backing our team. We performed well at Sale and I'm sure we'll do well again."
Smith has also dismissed suggestions that their assault on the 7s crown could undermine their preparations for their debut in the Premiership that will kick off against Leicester on September 2.
"I am sure it will only be positive in terms of the Premiership season," said Smith, "and I believe it's only going to help us and motivate us even more ahead of the start of the XVs season."
The 21-year-old Smith, who is about to embark on his second season with London Welsh, insists it is business as usual in pre-season despite the enormity of the task ahead of the club and he is personally relishing the opportunity to grace the Premiership stage.
"It will also be the first time in the Premiership for me and so there will obviously be opportunities for me to show what I can do," said Smith. "It's going to be a hard season for us as we haven't got one of the biggest squads in the Premiership even though we are still increasing our squad.
"And we are in a number of tournaments like the Amlin Challenge Cup and the LV Cup and so there will be many opportunities for all the players in the squad to impress."
To book tickets for the J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s Series Final on Friday, 3 August at The Recreation Ground, Bath, call 0844 448 1865 or visit www.bathrugby.com/tickets
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