Jonathan Mills has warned his team-mates that there are no tomorrows as London Welsh begin their push for the Championship title.
The London Welsh captain will led his side out against Nottingham on Saturday at Old Deer Park (12:35pm) in a match being shown live on Sky Sports 2.
The Dragons finished the regular season in fourth place and must negotiate promotion favourites Worcester, last season’s runners up Bristol and the Green and Whites if they are to least match their achievement of reaching last year’s semi-finals.
Phil Greening’s side enjoyed a rare weekend off with the league programme giving way to the quarter-finals of the British & Irish Cup, and after two games in 48 hours the previous weekend Welsh are now suitably refreshed and ready to go for the play-offs.
“There’s no tomorrow with these games, we have to be really focused and this week we’ve been fresh in training,” said Mills.
“It’s quite funny really, we’ve played 20-odd games and it means nothing really to an extent. It’s all about starting from scratch again and making sure we’re ready to go.
“Obviously we were going for as high a finish as we could in the regular season, but we knew we were going to finish in the top four.
“Now it’s back to square one. All that’s happened before means nothing and it’s all about this week, turning up and making sure we’re ready to go because there’s no tomorrows.”
As second seeds in Pool A, the Dragons will start with two points as reward for their fourth place finish in the regular season. Worcester will start with three, Nottingham one and Bristol none.
Nottingham will be hoping for a repeat of their last visit to Old Deer Park just three short weeks ago when they recorded a 22-13 victory. The Green and Whites making the most of an intercept try and a charge down try to gain revenge for Welsh’s win 27-21 at Meadow Lane earlier in the season.
“We felt we played a lot of the rugby that day. During the game I felt quite comfortable that we were going to get the result but sometimes you need that little bit of luck as well and it didn’t go our way in that game,” said Mills.
Saturday won’t be the first time London Welsh and Nottingham have crossed paths in the play-offs. Last season the Green and Whites turned the Dragons over 29-12 at Old Deer Park in round 3, before Welsh turned the tables a week later at Meadow Lane winning 17-10.
The Exiles followed that with victories over eventual champions Exeter and Doncaster to reach the semi-finals, where they lost to Bristol.
“Last year we made it hard for ourselves, but we were able to get through. Your home games are major; last year we won two out of three homes games and picked up two away wins,” said Mills.
“But if you can win your three home games and pick up one away win then you should go through, especially with us starting on two points.
“Obviously it’s great to have our first home game on Sky and if the weather’s good it’s a chance for the team to show what London Welsh can do.
“Hopefully with conditions getting a bit brighter and the tracks a bit harder it might suit us a bit more with the way we want to play. We’ve got a lot of exciting backs and a lot of exciting runners.”
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