RUGBY UNION: Smith keen to make case for the defence

Assistant coach Ollie Smith wants to see London Welsh keep things tight in defence against Bristol

Assistant coach Ollie Smith wants to see London Welsh keep things tight in defence against Bristol

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Call me on 01865 425456

London Welsh assistant coach Ollie Smith is hoping to avoid a repeat of the semi-final drama when his side face Bristol in the Greene King IPA Championship final, first leg tomorrow.

Welsh pipped Leeds 60-58 on aggregate after a pulsating 29-20 victory at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium on May 18.

That provided great entertainment for the crowd, but was not good viewing for defence coach Smith.

And he doesn’t want to witness a similar show back at the Kassam tomorrow (7.45).

“If it was like that every game, I would get the sack,” he said.

“Leeds are a good team. We have talked through some of the mistakes we made in both legs.

“From my point of view, it was far from ideal.”

Smith added: “There was a great amount of excitement at the end, but we have not won anything yet.”

Having worked hard in training since, Smith is confident his players will do better.

“There is a belief we can fix things, but there is also a frustration,” he said.

“We have had a good defence for the vast majority of the season.

“We have the first leg at home and want to carry on where we left off in that last 15 minutes.”

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MICHAEL DUBERRY COLUMN: Wharton story should have wider audience

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Watch: Match highlights and reaction to Oxford United's win at Northampton Town

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Watch match highlights of Oxford United's 3-1 win at Northampton Town, plus after match reaction

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MICHAEL Appleton was thrilled by the response Oxford United showed to falling behind as they stormed back to win 3-1 at Northampton Town.

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The second leg is at Bristol next Wednesday.

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