Andy Titterrell is anticipating another titanic scrum battle when London Welsh face Nottingham at Meadow Lane on Sunday (kick-off 3:15pm) in front of the live Sky Sports cameras.
The former England and British & Lions hooker, who won a Premiership title with Sale in 2006, joined Welsh in the summer from Edinburgh, helped the Exiles get their Greene King IPA Championship campaign off to a winning start last weekend with a 23-14 win over Bedford Blues at Allianz Park.
A feature of which was the performance of the Welsh pack in the scrum, but Titterrell expects the Exiles won’t have it all their own way on Sunday against the Green and Whites, who also enjoyed a first round win, against Leeds Carnegie.
“We’ve had a little look at the Nottingham v Leeds game and I think Nottingham will probably fancy themselves in the scrum as well,” he said. “So we’re under no illusion as to the threat they’ll pose to us, either as a forward pack or as a team.
“But if we can concentrate on our game and tidy up a few loose ends that crept into our game on Saturday then I think we can take a step forward from Bedford.
“By all accounts Meadow Lane is a nice surface to play on this time of year. I’ve never played there before so it will be a new experience for me and one that this team will really relish.”
Tries from Will Robinson, Joe Ajuwa and Nathan Morris saw Welsh come out on top against the Blues, but the Exiles had to wait until Morris forced his way over from close range late on to make the game safe.
“It’s always encouraging to get your first game out of the way and to get a win. That was our main objective but from the signs we showed on the pitch, there’s obviously plenty more to come,” said Titterrell, who was capped five-times by England between 2004-2007 and toured New Zealand with the Lions in 2005.
“That’s an encouraging sign – knowing that we’re a long way off being a complete side. But it’s been back to the drawing board this week with Nottingham on Sunday posing different threats.”
One of the main talking points from the Blues game was the dominance of the Welsh scrum, with the Exiles winning a succession of penalties and Morris’ try coming as a direct result.
“It was fantastic; I’ve been in sides before where we’ve had dominant packs and I’ve been in sides before where we’ve been retreating,” said Titterrell.
“That was a real key area for us. We spent a lot of time over the summer working on our units and combinations. We want to make scrum time very competitive, we want to have dominance in that area and hopefully we can maintain that and make it a strength of ours going forwards.
“From the homework and analysis we did on Bedford we felt we could target them in that area, on our ball as well as theirs.
“What was pleasing for me was we had all eight guys scrummage, and it wasn’t just the front five, which helps us out massively. As long as we know that all eight are scrummaging, you can’t ask anything more of them.”
Listen below to hear Andy's thoughts on his time at Leeds and Sale, the Championship, joining London Welsh and his ambitions for the season.