RUGBY UNION: We are still underdogs, says London Welsh boss Burnell

Mitch Lees (centre) returns for London Welsh tonight in a back row that includes Carl Kirwan (left) and a side captained by Tom May (right)   Picture: Martin John

Mitch Lees (centre) returns for London Welsh tonight in a back row that includes Carl Kirwan (left) and a side captained by Tom May (right) Picture: Martin John

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 head coach Justin Burnell insists there is no more pressure on his side at Bristol tonight than there was in the first leg.

The Exiles head to the Memorial Stadium (7.45) for the second leg of their Greene King IPA Championship final with a 19-point lead.

Few Welsh fans would have expected such a margin against opponents who finished top of the regular season table.

But although the odds are now in his side’s favour, Burnell believes the pressure remains on Bristol.

“They are still the favourites,” he said.

“They won the league and have got all the best players.

“We are told it is a sell-out crowd as well.

“We are still underdogs.”

Burnell added: “We are all excited and just looking forward to it now.

“We are in good shape mentally and physically.

“The players worked hard in the first leg and received the rewards that came with it.

“It’s the same principle on Wednesday night.”

With a 12,000 crowd roaring Bristol on in their final match at the Memorial Stadium, it is sure to be a passionate atmosphere.

But Burnell will be doing his best to keep his players calm in advance.

“It’s just about relaxing now,” he said. “The work starts on Wednesday at 7pm.

“Prior to that we will be relaxing.”

One big boost for Burnell is the return of Australian Mitch Lees at blindside flanker.

Lees, who will join Exeter this summer, has been out injured since the victory over Jersey on April 12.

Burnell said: “He has been one of the outstanding players in the Championship and has been well rewarded by having a contract from Exeter.

“He is looking really sharp. He was fit for the first leg, but we felt he wasn’t quite right.

“With Pete Edwards going back to Scarlets as well, a lot of these boys want to sign off their London Welsh careers on a high.”

Lees is one of three changes as Burnell maintains the rotation policy that has served him well this season.

“We have got a squad of 40 players who are pushing each other right to the max,” said Burnell.

“I don’t think there is a huge difference in ability, but they are keeping each other focused.”

Latest Sport news

ANGLING: Jeacock lands winning catch

5:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

Kevin Jeacock caught 11 carp on the bomb to win Beehive AC’s top tackle points match on Stable Lake.

Jake Wright urges Oxford United players to display mental strength

Oxford Mail:

1:30pm Friday 27th March 2015

SKIPPER Jake Wright has urged Oxford United’s players to ‘man up’ and block out any negativity at the Kassam Stadium tomorrow, writes MARK EDWARDS.

Michael Appleton expects Carlisle to try and exploit home woes

Oxford Mail:

1:30pm Friday 27th March 2015

MICHAEL Appleton believes Carlisle United will come to the Kassam Stadium confident of adding to Oxford United’s home woes.

New signing Kyle Vassell keen to give Oxford United a boost

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Friday 27th March 2015

KYLE Vassell is hoping to end the season with a bang – by scoring goals and firing Oxford United to safety.

It's time the Oxford United strikers delivered, says Michael Appleton

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Friday 27th March 2015

MICHAEL Appleton knows it is the issue that has dogged Oxford United all season.

Keith Curle looking for his Carlisle side to frustrate Oxford United

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Friday 27th March 2015

KEITH Curle says he plans on making life difficult for Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium tomorrow.

SNOOKER: Trafford secures a final spot for Kennnigton

Oxford Mail: cue and cue ball for images of snooker and billards for sport

5:26pm Friday 27th March 2015

Mark Trafford clinched a last-frame decider as Kennington Social Club triumphed 4-2 away to Oxford Bowls Club A in the semi-finals of the Gentworks Oxford & District League’s Sherlock Cup.

FOOTBALL: Didcot Town joint-boss Concannon wary of Bishops Cleeve

Oxford Mail: Didcot Town's joint boss Ian Concannon

8:00am Friday 27th March 2015

Didcot Town joint manager Ian Concannon has warned his side not to under-estimate Bishops Cleeve when they visit Draycott Engineering Loop Meadow tomorrow, writes Matthew Bruce.

FOOTBALL: We need to shut up shop at the back, says Banbury United boss Davis

Oxford Mail: football generic

8:00am Friday 27th March 2015

BANBURY United boss Paul Davis said his side will only escape relegation from the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division if they improve their defensive record.

RUGBY: World Cup trophy set to pay visit to Oxford

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Friday 27th March 2015

OXFORDSHIRE RFU chairman, Paddy Gregan, says having the World Cup Trophy visit Oxford is a great opportunity for the county.

 

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree