- Exiles looking forward to Pirates challenge
- They’ve got the ability to play all types of rugby and I would be very respectful of that - Jones
Photo: RFU Archive
If London Welsh are to win the Championship they’ll have to do something they haven’t managed all season, beat the Cornish Pirates.
The two games between the sides in the regular season produced a comfortable win for the Pirates at Mennaye Field, while three late Alex Davies penalties salvaged a 17-17 draw for Welsh at Old Deer Park.
Of course, the Pirates also came out on top, 18-10, in last year’s one-off semi-final at Mennaye Field.
“The Cornish Pirates are a very good side,” said Jones. “They don’t rely on any particular type of rugby or strength, they’ve got the ability to play all types of rugby and I would be very respectful of that.
“That’s what you’ve got to have. To have a sniff of going up you’ve got to be able to pay all types of rugby.
“They’ve got a good kicking full back, they’ve a very sound organised pack of forwards and they finished third and we finished fourth in the regular season.
“But throughout the season both teams have grown and we’re really looking forward to an opportunity to show ourselves at the highest level in this league.
“From where we were in September to where we are now is chalk and cheese. We’re a confident side with the ability to play a bit of football, and just like the Cornish Pirates we can also play all types of games as and when it suits.”
It’s all to play for now - Jones
The Exiles withstood a late fight-back from the Blues to reach their first-ever Championship final, having lost in the semi-finals in 2010 as well as last year.
When Nick Scott capitalised on a mistake to touch down and Davies added his fourth penalty, the Exiles led 17-10 on the day and 30-13 on aggregate. However, converted tries from Don Barrell and Neil Cochrane ensured a tense finish at Old Deer Park on Sunday, but Welsh held on.
“This was not an 80 minute game, it was a 160 minute game, and over the 160 minutes we probably deserved it” said Jones.
“I thought the first half was excellent in intensity. We fell away in the last 20 because we weren’t strong enough. We weren’t conditioned enough to play that intensity for 80 minutes.
“That’s a big learning curve for our boys to appreciate that when they go into the gym what they’re there for.”
Jones is now preparing his side for the 1st leg of their Championship final with the Cornish Pirates at Mennaye Field on May 23, with the return game confirmed for the Kassam Stadium, Oxford, on May 30. Both games kick-off at 7:45pm and will be live on Sky Sports.
“They should be two great games. We’ve seen two cracking committed affairs between ourselves and Bedford, and we were delighted to take the spoils because they’re a very good attacking side” said Jones.
“It’s all to play for now. Going into the play-offs we had a 25 per cent of being successful, now it’s 50 per cent.”
RFU Championship final 2011-12
Cornish Pirates v London Welsh, The Mennaye Field, Wednesday May 23, KO 1945. Live on Sky Sports HD.
London Welsh v Cornish Pirates, Kassam Stadium, Wednesday May 30, KO 1945. Live on Sky Sports HD.