Jones in confident mood ahead of Championship play-offs

London Welsh may have failed to make it three wins in six days, as they went down 39-29 to Leeds Carnegie at Old Deer Park on Saturday, but as the curtain came down on the regular Championship season head coach Lyn Jones was overall satisfied with his side’s progress report with thoughts now very much on the play-offs.

A bonus-point victory over Doncaster Knights in mid-week had already guaranteed the Exiles at least fourth place, having three days earlier beaten London Scottish.

Leeds would prove a step too far for Welsh, but Jones believes the Exiles are well placed going into the play-offs, where they’ll face Bristol, Nottingham and Doncaster Knights in Pool A.

"We’re quite pleased; we were looking for a slightly better performance today, but when you’re trying to play an expansive game people have got to realise that they need to improve in their skill levels," said Jones, who in the last six days has been able to welcome back long term injury absentees Greg Bateman, James Tideswell, Paul Mackey and Simon Whatling.

"It’s been a tough winter with so many guys off their feet, but this week has been a good exercise finishing the season with getting them back, and we’re delighted that they’ve come through a strenuous week without injury."

However, that didn’t mask a disappointing display by the Exiles against Leeds, which saw them leak five tries, including four in a strong second half performance by the Yorkshire side.

"It was a disappointing performance at the end of a tough week, where we’ve had three games in six days. I guess that’s why we fell away the last 15 minutes or so," added Jones.

"Our individual skills were found wanting today and Leeds capitalised on our inability to pass and catch.

"Having said that, this week had been about getting boys back from injury and getting them some game time so they can re-gather match fitness.

"Credit must go to Leeds, they played very well second half, scored five good tries and showed some good ingredients for doing well in the play-offs.

"There’s eight sides in the play-offs who’ve been there or thereabouts. Maybe Bristol have an edge, but there’s nothing to pick between the sides."

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