Burnell hails Welsh's derby day fighting spirit
London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell heralded his side’s figting spirit after watching them overturn a 15-point deficit to beat London Scottish 21-18 at the Athletic Ground on Saturday.
It wasn’t enough to prevent Welsh from bowing out of the British & Irish Cup, as they finished third in Pool 2 behind Scottish and table toppers Pontypridd, but it was their third win in a row since defeat to thier hosts at the Kassam Stadium just before Christmas.
Acting head coach James Buckland's Scottish had been hoping to make it three wins from three encounters with their near neighbours, but they could not hold on for the triumph and fell short of a quarter-final place.
"18-3 it wasn’t looking good but the spirit never went from us," said Burnell.
"Just before Christmas against Bedford and London Scottish we just seemed to lack that bit of spirit, but today it was there.
The bench once again made a difference for us - very pleased with the win."
Six James Love penalties had put Scottish 18-3 to the good before Welsh captain Tom May went over in the corner just before half-time to make 18-8 at the break.
Love missed a penalty early in the second half but from then on it was all Welsh as Will Robinson kicked two penalties and Nathan Morris went over for the match winning try.
"Everybody would have expected me to rant and rave at half-time, but I didn’t. We just sat down quite calmly and assessed where we were at," said Burnell.
"The boys were trying; it was just the composure in our game in certain areas. We addressed that and got the well deserved win.
"We scored two tries; we looked as if we wanted to play. They never really looked as if they wanted to play. They’re a very good defensive team and they just wanted to defend against us."
Championship table-toppers Welsh return to league action on Sunday when they host third placed Leeds Carnegie and Burnell is pleased with the about turn in form following defeats to Scottish and Bedford Blues in December.
"We lost two games and we’re now in the process of going back into the Championship campaign – it’s all about getting back to Oxford and a big performance against Leeds," he added.
"The losses before Christmas weren’t something we wanted, but it certainly made us sit down and reassess where we’re at.
"A good win out in Jersey, a good win against Pontypridd last week and another good performance today – we’re getting back into our stride. Three wins on the bounce, we’ll take that."