RUGBY UNION: Jones confident of improved show

Herald Series: London Welsh players (from left) Kirill Kulemin, Arthur Joly and Franck Montanella celebrate beating Bath in their last Premiership match London Welsh players (from left) Kirill Kulemin, Arthur Joly and Franck Montanella celebrate beating Bath in their last Premiership match

LONDON Welsh head coach Lyn Jones made no apologies for focusing on the Aviva Premiership as he looked ahead to today’s clash at Northampton Saints.

The Exiles have conceded 40 points in each of their last two matches – LV Cup defeats to Exeter and Gloucester – after showing some encouraging league form.

While frustrated by those two performances, Jones is prepared to trade them in for Premiership points such as their memorbale win against Bath last time out.

“Being promoted so late in the day, it was hard for us to be competitive in all competitions,” said Jones.

“It is no secret that our first team is likely to play in the Aviva Premiership.

“The other competitions are for people to find form and fitness and challenge for positions.

“We have had a few positives, although conceding 40 points in both games was not great.”

Title hopefuls Northampton may have lost their last three Premiership matches, but Jones expects a serious test.

“We are up against one of the top sides in European rugby,” he said.

“They have high profile players from top to bottom.

“It is going to be a challenge, but we are going to turn up and relax and give a good account of ourselves.”

Jones added: “They’ve two great second rows and a really good blend to their game.

“What’s important for us is that we turn up and try and be as competitive as we can.” While Northampton will be favourites to end their Premiership losing streak, Welsh have already caused a number of upsets in their debut season.

Jones said: “What matters is to be concerned about our own game.

“We have worked hard on areas of discipline in terms of giving penalties away.”

Welsh host relegation rivals London Irish next Saturday in what could be a huge game for their survival prospects.

But Jones said: “We can’t move on to London Irish just yet.

“We are just looking to Northampton and the challenges they will offer us.”

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