London Welsh ready for 'emotional day' as they bow out of the Aviva Premiership

Bottom club Welsh wind up their debut season in English rugby's top flight against Worcester

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The Independent Online

London Welsh will bow out of the Aviva Premiership tomorrow, with fly-half Gordon Ross acknowledging: “It will be an emotional day.”

Bottom club Welsh wind up their debut season in English rugby's top flight when Worcester visit the Kassam Stadium. Championship leaders Newcastle are favourites to replace them next term.

Currently 13 points adrift of 11th-placed Sale, the Exiles now only have pride to play for. They have not won a league game since December 1.

"We want to win our last game, individually, for the team and for the club," Ross said. "We want our last game in the Premiership to be a victory to put some pride back into the jersey and the club.

"It will be an emotional day, but hopefully we can channel those emotions the right way - on the pitch.

"We feel that we have added to the Premiership this season, and it would be great if we could get a result and end on a happy note.

"What will be nice is when the game is over we can sit in the changing room, look each other in the eye, our heads held high, and know that we've done ourselves justice."

Welsh's fate was sealed when they lost at home to Northampton three weeks ago, and Ross added: "Personally, I am still gutted.

"It has taken a lot of energy and enthusiasm out of me at times, and you do get a bit down thinking about it. But once the season is over we can perhaps sit back and reflect on how great an experience the season was.

"Ultimately we fell short, though. We got found out with mistakes that we might have got away with in the Championship."

Elsewhere, tomorrow's final round of regular season Premiership action before the play-offs sees leaders Saracens hosting Bath, Leicester facing London Irish, Harlequins meeting Northampton, Exeter tackling Gloucester and Wasps going to Sale.

Two points for Leicester would guarantee them a home play-off tie alongside Saracens, with Quins and Northampton - they are currently separated by a point - vying for third spot.

Those four clubs have already guaranteed themselves play-off places - it is now just a question of who plays who next weekend.

Exeter, meanwhile, can make sure of Heineken Cup qualification for a second successive season if they see off Sandy Park visitors Gloucester, who have already booked a European berth next term.

Chiefs number eight Richard Baxter will make his 431st appearance for the Devon club before heading into retirement. His first-team debut came more than 15 years ago.

"It has been an incredible journey," Baxter said.

"When I first started playing I never thought I would stay with the club for this long, so for to me finish with Exeter being a Premiership club and having been on that journey with them is just fantastic."