It is my pleasure to welcome you back to the Richmond Athletic Ground for our first Cup match of the 2019/20 season. It is great to have rugby back for another Championship season, with all of us refreshed after a long hot summer and eagerly anticipating the kick-off to the new season.
This summer has seen a good blend of continuity and change at London Scottish. Many of last season’s faces are back, but there are also a healthy number of new and returning players and support staff. I think our squad has been astutely assembled by Head Coach, Graham Steadman, with a good blend of experienced players and exuberant youngsters looking to make their mark. Our new overseas players include Matt Gordon, Alex Toolis and Kyle Whyte, whilst Dan Barnes, James Malcolm and Elliott Creed, amongst others, have joined us from closer to home.
Today it is a pleasure to welcome Cornish Pirates to the Athletic Ground. I’m sure it will be an exciting encounter with both teams looking to start their seasons off well. The Pirates arrive here today having finished fifth in the table last season, defeating us comfortably at The Mennaye over the New Year period, but with us coming out on top in the return in April on the unforgettable day when we also won the Melrose Sevens. Charlie Ingall’s length of the pitch try to clinch that game was one of the highlights of our Championship season.
Our most recent game was against Edinburgh Rugby away two weeks ago. Despite the loss to a strong Edinburgh side, which boasted many international players, our squad showed all the qualities necessary to suggest we will have a successful 2019/20 campaign. It was a great experience for all in the travel party to enjoy the Murrayfield experience.
I cannot wait for kick off today and I am sure it will be an enjoyable afternoon all around.