London Welsh 14-31 Northampton, Aviva Premiership
Jones backs Welsh to bounce back
April 14, 2013
London Welsh's Nick Scott reflects on his side's plight © Getty Images
London Welsh boss Lyn Jones has urged his club to 'roll up their sleeves' and deal with the disappointment of being relegated from the Aviva Premiership.
A 10th successive league defeat - a 31-14 loss at the hands of Northampton - consigned them to finishing bottom of the table and their only hope of survival is if the RFU Championship title winners - to be confirmed following play-offs late next month - do not meet Premiership entry criteria. But as the clear Championship favourites are Newcastle, who were a top-flight club last term, it appears inconceivable there will be a reprieve and their stay in the top flight will come to an end after just one year.
In a further blow to the Welsh's future, majority shareholder Kelvin Bryon, who played a major role in funding their rise into the Aviva Premiership and saving them from liquidation in 2009, will walk away from the club at the end of the season, apparently disillusioned by the way the club has been treated by Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union, and may be followed out of the club by chief executive Tony Copsey.
But Jones remains defiant and believes the club can bounce back. "You have got to take it one step at a time. It's the Championship for us. We've been there before, we understand the league," Jones said. "It is a two-year cycle, and we are halfway through. You concentrate on what you can influence, and that is what I have been trying to do here.
"I have tried to make sure the players approach the game in as professional a manner as they possibly can and do their jobs. On the field, we've been competitive. What happens at board level is not for me to comment upon. What the club has to do is simply hold its nerve.
"With a plan, a strategy and a vision we have a good chance. There is lots of spirit and lots of good at London Welsh, and we need to build on that. It is not about getting knocked down, it's about how we get up and address the coming months."
Jones confirmed that Welsh will continue playing at their current Kassam Stadium home in Oxford next season, and that he also intends remaining with the club. "For me, it's about bouncing back up next year. I've got drive, I've got ambition, I want to be a winner, and I hope my directors do as well," he added. "We don't know what is around the corner. All we can plan for is turning up, training and making sure we in a capable state, come September. The club will be strong and we will be competitive.
"There is a steely focus from key people within the club, and I am happy to carry on serving. Life is not easy at times, you just need to roll your sleeves up and deal with disappointment. We've got things right, we've got things wrong."
Welsh's survival hopes took a massive blow earlier this season when they had five Premiership points deducted for fielding an ineligible player in the league this season, and Jones admitted the long-running saga took a toll. "I don't think the episode with the player registration has been a big boost or a big help. It took a lot of energy away from the club, but that was our problem, for us to deal with," he said.
"It has been a fantastic experience, and what our directors have got to do is take this positive experience away with them, understand what it is all about and come back with a better plan."
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