Tom Vickers’ London Welsh v Northampton Saints preview

FAMILIAR FACE - London Welsh captain Tom May will face his former club on Sunday (picture: Linda Dawson)
FAMILIAR FACE - London Welsh captain Tom May will face his former club on Sunday (picture: Linda Dawson)

Fixture: London Welsh v Northampton Saints (Aviva Premiership round nine)

Date/kick-off time: Sunday, November 30, 2.30pm

Venue: Kassam Stadium

Weather forecast: 9C, cloudy

London Welsh: Jewell; Stegmann, Reynolds, May, Scott; Ross, Rowley; Reeves, Vella; Vea; Schofield, Down; Browne, Kirwan, McCaffrey.

Replacements: Morris, Trevett, Cooper, Corker, Pienaar, Lewis, Robinson, Awcock.

Saints: Foden; Elliott, Stephenson, Burrell, Wilson; Myler, Dickson; A Waller, Haywood, Ma’afu; Craig, Day; Clark, Dowson, Manoa.

Replacements: McMillan, E Waller, Denman, Dickinson, Nutley, Fotuali’i, Waldouck, K Pisi.

Outs: London Welsh: Piri Weepu (back), Olly Barkley (ankle)

Saints: Corbisiero (shoulder), G Pisi (hamstring), Fisher (toe), Collins (hamstring), Hartley, Lawes, Wood, North (international duty).

Most recent meeting: Sunday, April 14, 2013: London Welsh 14 Saints 31

Tom’s preview: If ever there was a result you could bank on, eh...?

Saints to win at London Welsh won’t enhance a weekend accumulator, with bookies simply speculating how many points the champions will prevail by.

But there remains a job to be done - and a banana skin to sidestep.

Saints know that should they lose to London Welsh this weekend, it would go down as one of the greatest upsets in Premiership history.

The home side have lost all 12 of their games this season, shipping an average of 43 points per match.

There have been some horrific humblings, with Wasps passing the 70 points mark in their match with Welsh at Adams Park.

But the Exiles certainly don’t lack pride and, led by Tom May, a man of many words of wisdom, they won’t lack fight this weekend.

To beat a Saints side currently sitting pretty at the top of the Premiership is a huge incentive for the men in red.

However, there may not be quite the quality needed to upset the odds this weekend.

That is not to say it will be easy for Saints, who have been in this situation before.

In fact, Sunday will be a year to the day that they faced a Worcester side at Sixways who were rooted to the bottom of the table, seeking their first win.

But the Warriors lived up to their name in a first-half showing that saw them scare the living daylights out of Saints.

The home side were 7-6 up at the break before Jim Mallinder’s men finally got into the groove and recovered to claim a 33-10 success.

It meant Worcester’s winless run in the league extended to 14 matches, but they certainly gave Saints a fright.

And that is what Welsh will be hoping to do this weekend.

They will hope to play on their underdog tag and bid to show the kind of bite that can rattle a Saints side expected to claim a maximum five points.

With the quality they have at their disposal, that it what the away side should do.

But, as has been shown so often in sport, things don’t always pan out how they are supposed to.

Tom’s prediction: London Welsh 11 Saints 33