Welsh stay positive after dire display

Date published: September 8 2014

London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell was left clawing for positives to take out his side’s 52-0 battering from Exeter Chiefs.

The Premiership newboys got off to their worst possible start on Sunday, with the scoreline not as much a concern as their lacklustre defence.

Several new players took to the field, including new half-backs Piri Weepu and Olly Barkley, as the Exiles conceded seven tries.

Taking in the bigger picture, Burnell knows there is a long way to go this season and hoped the result might lull other sides in the league into a false sense of security.

“The season is 10 months and we know what it’s about,” said Burnell.

“We could have stayed in the Championship and played in front of 800 people, or we could play in the Premiership and put our hands up.

“It’s pretty straight forward – we can go home and hide away, or we puff our chests out and put a smile back on our faces.

“We play Bath next so it doesn’t get any easier, but we just have to look forward to that.

“It’s 52-0 and we have nothing on the scoresheet. Maybe people will look at that and take us for granted, which may not be a bad thing for us.”

Despite trying to take some solace from the outcome, Burnell was also honest about Welsh’s shortcomings while dismissing talk that the number of new signings had made an impact.

“We have to learn from this. There were opportunities but we squandered them, spilt the ball and Exeter capitalised on the turnovers,” added Burnell.

“When you have possession you have to keep hold of the ball and hopefully come out of the green zone with a point.

“It’s not a case of regrouping or those cliches, it’s about learning from your mistakes and rectifying them.

“When people are making individual errors, that has absolutely nothing to do with the number of signings you’ve made.

“If you’re a professional player, you have to make your tackles, make that final pass and hold on to the ball.”