London Welsh flanker Michael Hills’ pre-season preparations may have been a little hectic, but he is out to lay down a marker at the JP Morgan Premiership Sevens tonight.

The 27-year-old, who has more than 70 appearances for the club under his belt, will captain the Exiles’ squad at Sale Sharks as head coach Lyn Jones steps up preparations for their first game in English rugby’s top flight against Leicester Tigers on September 2.

Welsh’s late inclusion in the both the sevens event and the Aviva Premiership has meant the last month has been a whirlwind for those  at Old Deer Park.

But Hills insisted that was no excuse when it comes to players proving they have what it takes.

“As a rugby player you want to play at the highest professional level,” he said.

“We have come to this season a little late but everyone is excited about the challenge and has been working hard over the past few weeks to prepare.

“We were not expecting to play this tournament, but it is an early opportunity for players to show their skills.”

New faces Gavin Henson, Nick Runciman, Tom Arscott, Sonny Parker, Phil Mackenzie and Gareth Evans are not in the squad heading north.