RUGBY UNION: Captain May hopes exit will boost Exiles

6:00am Friday 24th January 2014

By Ed Mezzetti

LONDON Welsh captain Tom May believes being knocked out of the British & Irish Cup can work in their favour.

Welsh won 21-18 at London Scottish on Saturday, but it was not enough for them to qualify for the knockout stages.

The Exiles host Leeds in the Greene King IPA Championship at the Kassam Stadium on Sunday, knowing they will now play up to three fewer games than their promotion rivals.

“It’s a long season,” said May. “I didn’t really realise how long it can be.

“A lot of the lads were back in the second week of June.

“If we reach the the play-off final, we will finish on June 4, so that’s virtually a year of rugby.

“If we can keep our players a bit fresher, that has got to be good.

“It is disappointing to go out of the British & Irish Cup, but if we have one focus on winning the league, that can help us.”

Championship leaders Welsh take on third-placed Leeds in what should be one of the toughest examinations of their promotion credentials.

May’s men battled back well to beat Scottish on Saturday, but he accepted they would need to play far better on Sunday.

“That’s without doubt,” he said. “If we play like we did last weekend, we will lose.”

May added: “Leeds have been pretty good all year. They are quite an exciting team to watch.

“Their attacking game is difficult to defend against and we’ll need to make sure we are prepared.”

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