Atkinson: Esher must make a statement

Fly-half Mark Atkinson wants Esher to lay down a marker for the play-offs in Saturday’s big home clash against local rivals London Scottish, writes Mark Bengoechea.

Esher have just three games remaining against fellow strugglers Scottish and Plymouth plus a trip to Leeds before the Championship relegation shootout.

And Atkinson, who admitted the 37-17 defeat at London Scottish in November was one of the season’s lowest points in a dire campaign, believes it is vital Esher show they are up for the fight after a season that has brought just one win.

“These next two home games are massive,” said the 21-year-old.

“We need to use our home advantage because when Scottish and Plymouth come back here in the play-offs, they will know we can beat them.

“It’s important to put down a statement against them now.

“That defeat at Scottish was one that hurt the most because they are our local rivals.

“It would be good to get two wins out of the three in the bag.”

Director of rugby Mike Schmid, pictured right, has seen his men become sharper in attack in recent weeks, but defence remains a weakness.

“We like to throw it around and play wide and I think teams are scared of that,” added Atkinson.

“The players are confident we can stay up. We know we can score tries and there are times when sides can’t live with us.

“There have been times when we’ve defended well, but it must last 80 minutes.”

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