London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell praised his side’s spirit after the Exiles overturn a 12-point deficit for the second time this season to maintain their 100 per cent record as they made it six wins from six.
The Exiles trailed Leeds Carnegie 24-12 on Sunday after the home side crossed twice early in the second half, but Nick Scott’s second try and 16 points from the boot of Alex Davies saw Welsh home 31-24 and sent them back to the top of the Greene King IPA Championship table.
The win sets up a mouth-watering clash with second-placed Bristol next Sunday at the Kassam Stadium.
For London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell, there were echoes of Rotherham Titans in the Exiles’ comeback at Leeds, when Welsh trailed 12-0 after just five minutes at Clifton Lane.
“It was like the Rotherham game; you’re not getting the rub of the green, the decisions or the bounce of the ball, but you’ve just got to dig in and keep working hard,” he said.
“It’s about having confidence in the spirit that we’re definitely creating within the squad. As a coach you’ve got to have confidence in your squad.
“The bench did make a difference again today, but you’ve still got to have that confidence in the squad, which puts all the hard work in during the week. That often gets forgotten.
“Rotherham are flying high in the league and Leeds have been doing well. To go to these places and show the character we did to come back is a credit to the whole environment we’re creating – the physios, the conditioners, everybody.”
Welsh had opened up a 12-3 lead over Leeds thanks to tries from Scott and Nathan Trevett, but Fred Burdon went over on the stroke of half-time for a converted score. A Calum Green touchdown and a penalty try within nine minutes of the restart left Welsh’s 100 per cent record in serious jeopardy.
“Of course it’s disappointing but it comes down to the manner in which you concede the tries. Sometimes that’s the most disappointing part,” said Burnell, who admitted he’s spoilt when it comes to goalkicking options.
“It does make a difference. Gordon [Ross] has been in fine form and then Alex steps up and takes the plaudits. We’re very fortunate and as we all know games do come down to kicking the points.”
Welsh now welcome Bristol to the Kassam next Sunday with just a point separating the sides at the top of the table.
“The league won’t be won next week; it will be more about the performance and the pride,” said Burnell.
“There’s so far to go in the league. But some of these teams have now got to come to the Kassam. You’ve got to pick those points up on the road and keep the composure and more importantly the concentration – the two big C’s.”