RUGBY UNION: London Welsh must improve for second leg

Ollie Stedman attacks for London Welsh against Leeds Carnegie on Sunday Picture: Martin John

Alan Awcock

First published in Sport

GREENE KING IPA CHAMPIONSHIP

ALAN Awcock says London Welsh must raise their game if they are to overcome Leeds Carnegie and reach the play-off final.

The 26-year-old, from Chilton, near Wantage, came off the bench to score two tries in Welsh’s 38-31 first-leg defeat at Headingley.

But as the Exiles bid to turn around a seven-point deficit in Sunday’s second leg at the Kassam Stadium, Awcock knows he and his teammates have a lot to work on.

“The boys all know they underperformed and in this league you can’t underperform, if you’re looking to get into the Premiership,” he said.

“You can’t put in a performance like that – it’s got to be better,” said Awcock.

“Headingley is a difficult place to come, but we’ve done a job up here before in similar respects – we were down, but regrouped. Unfortunately it didn’t happen on Sunday.

“We’re disappointed with how we conceded a few penalties, but we’ll regroup and head back to the Kassam and put in a better performance.”

Favourites Bristol beat Rotherham 17-14 at home in the other semi-final first leg.

Awcock added: “Everyone wants to play in the final – that’s where we want to be.

“We’ve got a good squad and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be there.”

Welsh outscored Leeds by three tries to two at Headingley and Awcock says scoring first will be key on Sunday.

“I don’t think we ever struggle to score tries – we like to get over the whitewash,” he said.

“They did cause us a few problems in terms of loose kicks and kick chase issues, but it’s nothing that can’t be sorted for next Sunday.

“We’ll be aiming to score first and then it’s nil-nil, but as long as we work hard this week – correct the little system errors that we got wrong on Sunday – and perform, we’ll be confident.”

LONDON Welsh are waiting to learn if full back Alex Davies (knee) and flanker Daniel Browne (hamstring) will be fit to face Leeds on Sunday after both went off injured in the first leg.

Australian forward Mitch Lees (knee) could still feature in the play-offs.

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