london Welsh hope hanging in the balance

Business time: Welsh boss Justin Burnell

Business time: Welsh boss Justin Burnell

First published in Sport by

London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell is after a fast start at the Kassam stadium on Sunday as the exiles look to overturn a seven-point Championship semi-final first leg deficit against Leeds Carnegie.

The Yorkshiremen head to Oxford with a 38-31 advantage from the first clash at Headingley, leaving the tie finely balanced.

The last time Leeds visited the Kassam, the exiles came away with a 19-10 win and a repeat scoreline would send Welsh through to the final.

“It’s all to play for. If we score the first try in the first few minutes then it’s nil-nil on aggregate and that will be our target, to make a game of it,” said Burnell.

“It could be the last game of the season, or we could then be in the final. We’ll be going into the game with the appetite to win.”

Welsh will have to improve their discipline if they are to reach the final and keep alive their dream of an immediate Premiership return.

Despite outscoring the home side three tries to two, eight Leeds penalties hurt Welsh on the scoreboard – including one from the last kick of the game – and the exiles must rectify that in the return leg.

“We’re disappointed with our performance. It’s not a good day at the office when you concede 38 points, but we’ve got to get back in and that’s something we’re very good at,” added Burnell.

“We will look at where the mistakes were, we will rectify those errors and move forward.

“Our defence has been a massive strength of ours and they just walked through us twice. We weren’t at our best, our discipline was disappointing, but all credit to Leeds.”

Burnell is sweating on the fitness of Alex Davies (knee) and Daniel Browne (hamstring), who were both forced off with injury in the first half, before Sunday’s rematch.

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