3:19pm Friday 11th January 2013
By Stuart Amos
London Scottish winger James Love has warned the rest of the Championship to watch out now the exiles have found their defensive feet.
Director of rugby Simon Amor’s men edged a thriller with second-placed Bedford Blues 26-23 at the Athletic Ground, through first half tries from centre Andy Reay and lock Tyler Hotson, plus 16 points from Love’s boot.
It was a triumph built on an impressive defensive display which backed up last week’s effort at league leaders Newcastle Falcons, where Scottish collected a surprise losing bonus point a week ago.
Amor’s men have struggled this term since defence coach Alex Codling quit after the opening game of the season, but the arrival of French legend Serge Betsen and James Buckland prior to Christmas has paid dividends.
And 22-year-old Love, who took his points tally to 170 for the season at the weekend, believes it makes them the team to watch in the second half of the season as they bid to avoid the drop.
“We knew as a squad we’ve always had the talent, it has just been a case of getting of those bits together and we have just stepped things up after Newcastle,” he said.
“Our defence won us the game. We didn’t miss many tackles and our line speed was awesome, and in the end we came up trumps
“We’re a force to be reckoned with and all the other teams should watch out.
“Its a great way to start the year. We all put a lot in on the training ground and it is nice to see it paying off.”
Scottish shed a host of players when the decision to restructure the club’s playing department saw Buckland, Betsen and Harlequins coach Jim Evans – as a lineout consultant – brought in.
The move to daytime training has also had a significant impact, but Amor reckoned the addition of Buckland had been the key acquisition.
“We made big changes seven weeks ago which were tough and pretty ruthless, which were done in the best interests of the club,” he said.
“It was tough on some really good loyal people, but unfortunately we felt we couldn’t compete as we were.
“We’ve still got a long way to go, but the impact James Buckland has had on the defence has been really important for us. We’ve spent the past seven weeks working on our defence.
"We knew we had to solve that problem. You only had to look at our points against column to see how bad we were.
“The Newcastle game gave the guys some good self belief and it is a case of carrying that belief on. There is more to come from this team.”
Scottish are at Moseley in the British & Irish Cup in the Midlands tonight.
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