RUGBY UNION: Burnell relishing visit of in-form Rotherham

8:00am Saturday 8th February 2014

By Ed Mezzetti

JUSTIN Burnell insists now is a great time for London Welsh to play new leaders Rotherham Titans.

Head coach Burnell’s side enter tomorrow’s Greene King IPA Championship clash at the Kassam Stadium following a chastening 36-15 defeat at Plymouth.

Rotherham, on the other hand, surged into top spot last weekend after their tenth successive victory in all competitons.

Burnell admits losing so heavily in Devon was a bitter blow, but says those emotions can spur second-placed Welsh on to bounce back.

“The one good thing is that they are a resilient bunch of players,” he said.

“It was a long old journey home from Plymouth.

“But it couldn’t be a better week to play against Rotherham after a performance like Saturday.”

As for what what caused such a poor display at Plymouth, Burnell struggled to put his finger on it, especially coming after playing so well to beat Leeds.

“Just about everything went wrong,” he said.

“If I had the answers, I guess I would be worth quite a lot of money.

“It was a dark day for us, but that is taking absolutely nothing away from Plymouth.

“They were much better than us.”

The Exiles have lost three of their last five league games, having won the first nine.

Burnell is not worried by this and backed his squad to show their class.

“It could be a lot worse,” he said. “If we were in eighth and 12 points adrift of the top four, then I would be panicking.

“We are three points off the top and seven points clear of fifth place.

“We will be there in the mix at the end.”

Burnell added: “We have to learn from our mistakes, but on the other hand, it is no good dwelling on them.

“There is a lot of good rugby to be played.”

While Welsh lost at Plymouth, Rotherham struggled to beat Plymouth, which Burnell feels shows the strength of the Championship.

“I think everybody is capable of beating each other in this league,” he said.

Burnell singled out centre Juan Pablo Socino, fly half Dallan Murphy and scrum half Charlie Mulchrone as Rotherham’s danger men.

“They play with a lot of width in their game,” said Burnell.

“Their nine, ten and 12 are all excellent players and like to play a very open game.

“But like every other team in the Championship, they have also got physicality.”


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