JUSTIN Burnell has urged fans to keep roaring on London Welsh when they begin their Aviva Premiership campaign at home to Exeter on Sunday.
Head coach Burnell has fond memories of the Exiles’ last two matches at the Kassam Stadium when they defeated Leeds and then Bristol in the Championship play-offs.
Now as Welsh prepare for their top-flight return, he wants his side to begin with a bang on and off the field.
“When you think of the noise that was created in the second leg of the semi-final and the first leg of the final, it just got louder and louder,” said Burnell, right.
“That’s what we want it to be right from the start on Sunday. A big, noisy crowd can make all the difference.”
He added: “Everybody wants to play at home in the first game and we have got a great opportunity with that.
“It’s all about momentum. It’s just ensuring that we put a good performance in to show that we are able to hold our own in this league.”
Welsh’s first Premiership season ended in relegation in 2013 and the bookies have them favourites to repeat that this campaign.
Burnell knows the size of the task his squad face, but he believes they will be competitive.
“The Premiership is at least another five steps up in repect of the speed and physicality,” he said.
“It’s not the best club league in the world for nothing.
“It’s a big step-up, but we are relishing it.
“If you spend time panicking and not looking forward to it, you are beaten before you get on the park.”
Burnell stuck with a rotation policy last season, but is yet to decide whether to continue with it.
“It’s a different competition and we have a different squad,” he said. “It’s a case of suck it and see.”
Welsh have signed 25 players this summer, but Burnell stressed there was no special favours for the newcomers.
“You have just got to get on with it,” he said.
“Whether it is three or four, nine or ten or 20 new faces, it’s the same process.
“We have not got enough time to adapt to what they want. It’s about fitting in and making sure that they commit to the club.”
Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704.
Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
Latest Sport news
- Darryl Eales: Takeover rumours 'unhelpful' to Oxford United's player recruitment
- DARTS: Democrats find it hard in ODDA top-flight opener
- RUGBY UNION: Twickenham news is thrill for Oxfordshire head coach Craig Burrows
- FOOTBALL: Oxford United Women looking towards brighter future after finishing bottom
- RUGBY LEAGUE: Josh Atkinson at the double as Oxford beat South Wales Ironmen
- BOXING: Jordan Flynn ready for 'massive opportunity' in England v Scotland Dual
- MOTORSPORT: Bradley Smith proud of KTM progress in MotoGP
- GOLF: Frilford Heath deal with downpour to deliver EuroPro Tour event
- Oxford United and Oxford City excited over new partnership at Court Place Farm
- MOTORSPORT: Bradley Smith secures 12th place in France