A winning start for Justin Burnell, but the new London Welsh head coach certainly wasn’t getting carried away by the margin of the result at Kingsey Road on Saturday.
The Exiles ran in 17 tries in a 107-5 win and dominated the set-piece against the National 2 South side, but for Burnell there were several areas for improvement ahead of the Scarlets’ visit to the Kassam Stadium next Sunday, and Welsh’s opening Greene King IPA Championship fixture against Bedford Blues next month.
“We conceded a try. First and foremost, why did we concede a try? Without being disrespectful, should we really be conceding a try against Chinnor? No, we shouldn’t,” said Burnell.
“Also when there was the simplest two v one, or three v two, that final pass and that execution was sometimes missing. Is that down to depth or bad skills? Something as simple as good decision making in those situations will make a massive difference.
“But there were far more positives than negatives; what thrilled me the most was the spirit the game was played in.
“That came off the back of winning the collisions and the set-piece. You can only play that style of rugby if you’re on the front foot and fortunately today we won the collisions and we were on the front foot.
“It was a fantastic exercise and we’ve learnt a lot from it, and we’re very grateful to Chinnor.”
Next Sunday, Welsh will be out for a spot of revenge over the Scarlets after their 23-17 defeat in last year’s corresponding fixture at Parc y Scarlets, when an injury-time Scott Williams gave Scarlets the victory.
The same time the Exiles were racking up 100 points against Chinnor, the Scarlets went down at home to Exeter Chiefs, 23-15, and Burnell is all too aware that Sunday will be a completely different affair.
“The Scarlets are a Heineken Cup and Rabodirect Pro12 side – they’re very good. They had a friendly today against Exeter Chiefs and we’re playing Chinnor, so they’ve already got one step on us,” he said.
“The approach to that game will be no different to Chinnor - it will all be about winning the collisions and getting the set-piece right. If we maintain that we’ll be able to play the sort of rugby we saw today.
“Unless you win the contact and get the speed of ball you’re not going to see that style of rugby.”
The only downside for Welsh in their win over Chinnor was the early loss of Alex Davies with a hamstring injury.
“I’m disappointed for Alex. He’s been one of our best trainers – he’s been looking sharp,” said Burnell.
“Whether he’s at full back, nine or ten, Alex is a fantastic member of the squad. That’s a massive blow to me personally as I was really looking forward to seeing him play in the league at the start of the season”.