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London Welsh pack left with plenty to ponder by Pirates
London Welsh take with their 100 per cent record to Headingley on Sunday, as they face fourth placed Leeds Carnegie, with prop Nathan Trevett expecting another huge test of the Exiles’ Championship title credentials.
“It’s going to be massive but we couldn’t be going there on the back of a better result,” said Trevett, after Welsh made it five wins from five in the league with last weekend’s 41-6 victory over the Cornish Pirates.
“Leeds are playing well, they’ve got two big props and after we struggled in the scrum against the Pirates that’s going to be massive for us.
“But we’re unbeaten and whether it’s Leeds this week, Bristol the week after or Ealing the week after that, if we’re still 100 per cent those teams are going to come to take us on, and rightly so. Teams will want to be the first to knock us off our pedestal.”
The Exiles ran in five tries against the Pirates at the Kassam Stadium to move two points clear at the top of the Greene King IPA Championship, but for arguably the first time this season, at least in the league, the Welsh pack didn’t have it all their own way up front, particularly in the scrum.
“For myself and Pete [Edwards] it wasn’t our best performance in the scrum, but credit to the Pirates, they did their homework and we did struggle a touch,” added Trevett.
“They were the best we’ve been up against all season - they came and took us on up front. It’s horrible to say but they probably brought us back down to reality.
“It was hard for us because we have been so dominant. We had a meeting the other week and something like 76 points out of 140 had come from scrum related incidents, whether it’s from pushovers or three points from the boot. But there’s no need to panic and hopefully we can sort it out on Sunday.
“A few people have commented that that doesn’t often to the Pirates - it was still a great win and a great team performance.
“We started quite poorly up at Rotherham, 12 points down after five minutes, and our aim was to start well and we did. In this league against any team if you fall behind by 20 points it’s a tough ask to get that back.”
Welsh certainly did that, opening up 20-3 lead over the Pirates after 25 minutes - a reaction to the Exiles’ back-to-back defeats in the B&I Cup to London Scottish and Cornish Pirates.
“Last week we had a big week in training and a big meeting at the start of the week after a second defeat in the B&I Cup in a row, which hurt,” said Trevett.
“Justin has always said that we’re a squad and that squad is big enough to handle all of these game, and we had to go back to basics.
“The intensity in training on the Tuesday and Wednesday went up and Tom May said that was probably the best week of training we’ve had, but it counts for nothing if we don’t go out against the Pirates and start with a bang.”
Welsh did. However, with the Pirates’ pack meeting fire with fire in the forwards battle it was an opportunity for the Welsh backs to further step up. An opportunity they accepted.
“It was role reversal; in the honesty meeting we also said that we don’t need to flog the forwards in the scrum. Yes, we’re dominant but we can let the backs play,” said Trevett.
“You’ve got the likes of Tom May, Sonny Parker and Gordon Ross, all ex-internationals, and the back three are all playing well, and if you’ve got that type of back line you’ve got to give them the ball.
“If we can get the scrum dominance, the lineout keeps going as well as it has been and we’re letting the backs click, then I’m sure there’s another 10, 20 or maybe 30 per cent in the team.”
For Trevett, the chance to renew links with Justin Burnell at London Welsh was one he did not need to think too long about after being released by Cardiff Blues at the end of last season.
Renewed acquaintance: Trevett's move to London Welsh saw he and coach Justin Burnell reunited
First selected by Burnell as a 16-year-old for a Cardiff-Pontypridd Under 19 side, the pair later linked up at the Blues, for whom Trevett went on to make a total of 33 appearances, scoring one try.
“I was in a pickle in terms of what to do and where to go. Justin became head coach at London Welsh and a couple of days later I had the phone call. As soon as I got off the phone it was pretty much a done deal, and within three days I’d signed and was on my way,” he said.
On Sunday, Trevett and Welsh are sure to encounter a Leeds side on Sunday keen to knock them off their perch at the top of the Championship table, roared on by passionate home following.
“We went to Rotherham a couple of weeks back and they got on top of us early on. Their crowd was massive to them and then we went to Ponty and it was exactly the same thing,” he said.
“As a team you’ve got to front up and get the right result. If was come away from Leeds with a 9-6 we’ll take it - just get out of there with a win.”
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