Jones admits Welsh still playing catch-up
September 2, 2012
London Welsh's Hudson Tonga'uiha forces his way over for one of his sde's two tries against Leicester © Getty Images
London Welsh boss Lyn Jones believes his side's protracted battle to earn promotion to the Aviva Premiership was a key factor in their 38-13 defeat to Leicester Tigers on Sunday.
A gutsy Exiles side had looked on course for a demoralising defeat as the Tigers surged into a 17-0 lead midway through the first half with Thomas Waldrom crossing twice but the hosts battled back with two tries of their own before the break through Tom Arscott and Hudson Tonga'uhia. However, they were unable to sustain that effort were eventually outclassed five-tries-to-two thanks to further scores from Geoff Parling, Julian Salvi and Vereniki Goneva.
London Welsh were only granted promotion at the end of June following a lengthy appeal process having originaly failed to meet the criteria for a Premiership club with Jones insisting the resulting lack of preparation for their step up to the top flight impacted on their performance.
"What happened in the summer has been well documented, but the knock-on effect is in the detail of your game," he said. "We knew we just did not have enough time to put the detail into the game. We had players knocking into each other in areas of the field where they weren't sure what they should be doing and that stood out and it cost us.
"I am not saying we were good enough to win but if we had upped our game at the line-out maybe we could have challenged for a bonus point, but we failed when we had opportunities to launch attacks."
But Jones refused to be too downcast on his players and praised their efforts against a dominant Tigers side. "There is only so much tackling you can do, Leicester came in wave after wave and I was proud of the boys, they stuck in there, they gave 100 per cent and you can't ask more than that.
"There was a lot of good in our game and we now have foundations to build on and it's important we develop to become a tough team to beat. But it might take four to six weeks until we have something we are all comfortable with."
A rusty-looking Leicester were some way from their best but director of rugby Richard Cockerill was not complaining after his side kicked off the season with a bonus-point win. "We come away with maximum points and it was a good workout for us, we did some good things in the first 25 minutes and some poor things in the last 15 minutes of the first half. In the second half we were much more accurate.
"But credit to Welsh they were up for the battle and got themselves back in it and if you are not on your game they will punish you. We did not know what to expect from them but there is enough experience in that side and physically they were very good and made life difficult for us."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Scotland decides its future, Scrum Sevens looks at a group of players who transcended rugby both for country and the British & Irish Lions
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup