Paul Mackey returns to the London Welsh side for Sunday’s EDF Energy National Trophy Round 5 clash with Cambridge at Old Deer Park.

Having missed the Dragons last three matches through injury, Mackey returns to partner Aaron Hopkins in the centres Mackey is one of six changes to the Welsh starting line up from their 40-12 win over Newbury last Saturday, with Nic Strauss handed his first start since arriving from the Natal Sharks, after making his debut off the bench against Newbury.

The other changes see Ed Lewis-Pratt start at full back with Mark Harris moving to fly half, with Aled Thomas on Wales Sevens duty in San Diego. Fijian international Wame Lewaravu replaces Matt Corker in the second row, while Araon Liffchak comes in to the front row in place of Shaun Ruwers. There are places on the bench for Robin Boot and Tom Tombleson.

“Nic Strauss comes in so that we can have a look at him in a starting role at six, although that’s no reflection on Jonathan Mills’ performances as he’s been playing really well. It’s just a case wanting to look at the depth of our squad,” said London Welsh head coach Danny Wilson. “Although Nic’s has also earned his chance to start off the back of an exciting 25 minutes against Newbury.

“Paul’s been our number one 12 all season; he missed a couple of games through the injury he picked up at Bedford but he’s now fully fit. Although Greg King played really well at inside centre against Newbury, Paul’s our long-standing number 12 so he comes straight back in to give us a bit more experience and leadership.

“Mark Harris has played very well at fly half for us in previous matches, while Ed Lewis-Pratt has come off the bench several times recently and impressed. Ed’s also started the majority of the season at full back and played well, so I have complete confidence in Ed starting at 15.

“We are quite lucky that we’ve got four good second rows at the club, including Ben Thomas, but probably those three [Mike Powell, Matt Corker and Wame Lewaravu] at the moment are the guys playing the best and there’s a good battle going on between them.

“There is no resting or rotating of players for Sunday’s match with Cambridge, this is a strong team that we are putting out. We’ve picked a side that warrants going in to this game on performance and having the squad that we’ve got, we can use other players and it shouldn’t weaken our side in any way.”

London Welsh team to face Cambridge 15. Ed Lewis-Pratt 14. Paul Sampson 13. Aaron Hopkins 12. Paul Mackey 11. Michael Tagicakibau 10. Mark Harris 9. Allen Chilten 1. Paul Doran Jones 2. Gavin O’Meara 3. Aaron Liffchak 4. Wame Lewaravu 5. Mike Powell © 6. Nic Strauss 7. Tom Audley 8. Tom Brown.

Replacements: 16. Sunia Vuli Koto 17. Robin Boot 18. Matt Corker 19. Jonathan Mills 20. Nick Runciman 21. Greg King 22. Tom Tombleson