Burnell bitterly disappointed

Date published: December 27 2014

London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell was deflated after watching his side lose 24-9 to fellow strugglers London Irish in Reading on Friday.

This was the Exiles’ eleventh straight defeat in the Aviva Premiership, with relegation moving a step closer for the Kassam Stadium outfit.

“It was a game we wanted to win,” Burnell told Press Association Sport after a fixture that saw both sides lose a player to a red card.

“It was billed as an important game and we are bitterly disappointed for at certain stages, I thought we could win.

“We were able to keep the ball to go into half-time in contention and at 17-9 (down) midway through the second half we were well in the game.”

As mentioned, red cards were issued to one player from each side in the first-half as Welsh captain Tom May and London Irish’s Dan Leo got their marching orders in the 34th minute after the former swung an elbow before Leo wrestled him to the ground.

“We saw the incident involving (Northampton hooker) Dylan Hartley last week and there is obviously a similarity for the referee to consider,” added Burnell.

“Tom May is distraught as it’s probably the first time in his career that he’s been dismissed and he feels he’s lets his team-mates down.”

Meanwhile, London Irish boss Brian Smith was “relieved” to get the points on the board as tries from Alex Lewington, Geoff Cross and Tom Court saw them home.

“I am relieved but I have mixed emotions as with 10 minutes I thought we could have squeezed out a bonus point,” he said.

“The win was obtained purely on the back of our forwards but at pitchside you could see how difficult conditions were as it was raining heavily and the pitch was very slippy.”