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 on and off the pitch at Old Deer Park.

But Hills, a former Sale player, insisted that was no excuse when it comes to players proving they have what it takes to perform at the highest level

"As a rugby player you want to play at the highest professional level.  We are no different.  you want to prove yourself against the best," 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 weren't expecting to play this tournament, but it is an early opportunity for players to show their skills and show what they can do.

"We don't know what to expect, but all we can do is give it our best."

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