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

MOTORSPORT: Massa is fifth

Oxford Mail: Felipe Massa will be appearing at Goodwood Festival of Speed today

4:53pm Sunday 21st September 2014

Felipe Massa finished fifth for the Grove-based Williams team in today's Singapore Grand Prix.

Oxford Utd 0, Stevenage 0

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

5:03pm Saturday 20th September 2014

OXFORD United produced an entertaining display but had to settle for a draw as they were unable to find a way past a dogged Stevenage.

Who was Oxford United's man of the match against Stevenage?

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

5:49pm Saturday 20th September 2014

Oxford Utd v Stevenage - updates

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

1:57pm Saturday 20th September 2014

All the latest new from Oxford United's home game against Stevenage in Sky Bet League Two.

Oxford United Wright issues warning

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 20th September 2014

Jake Wright believes it will be key for Oxford United to avoid getting dragged into a physical contest if they are to build on a midweek win when Stevenage visit today.

CRICKET: Freeman is rewarded for courage

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 20th September 2014

Banbury's Amy Freeman has won the CMJ Spirit of Cricket Girls’ Award.

RACING: Young charges have Hill excited about the future

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 20th September 2014

With a fresh intake of young horses, Lawney Hill is hoping her Aston Rowant stables will continue to flourish as the jumps season prepares to move up a notch.

RACING: Eve hearing date is set

8:00am Saturday 20th September 2014

A British Horseracing Authority hearing into the positive morphine test provided by Charlie Wells, from Eve Johnson Houghton’s Blewbury stables, near Didcot, will take place on October 16.

SWIMMING: Blue Fins’ Wynne-Jones is top of UK rankings

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 20th September 2014

LOTTIE Wynne-Jones starred as Bicester Blue Fins competed in the final gala of the Milton Keynes & District Junior League for the first time at Oxford’s Temple Cowley Pool.

Oxford duo Hylton and Howard set to receive green light

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 20th September 2014

Top scorer Danny Hylton and Brian Howard are expected to have recovered from midweek knocks to start for Oxford United today.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

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