They say in life that respect isn’t just given, you have to earn it. I think it is safe to say that in the first eight weeks of our life in the Aviva Premiership we are on our way to earning it. There is, don’t get me wrong, a long way for us to progress and build as a team, but were going in the right direction.
Having started the season against last year’s finalists, we knew it was going to be a baptism of fire, and it certainly was. Two 40 point defeats later, everyone had already written us off, but with wins over Exeter followed by Sale away, we showed that we not only deserve to be here but that we can actually play some rugby.
London Welsh isn’t your average Aviva Premiership club. We don’t have the £4 million most clubs have at there disposal for the salary cap. We’re not a team boasting a number of current internationals. We don’t have a 5 man coaching staff, a huge medical team and analysts, but what we do have is a group of players and staff that buy into the ethos of what we’re all about.
I can genuinely say I have never been part of such a tight nit group of players in my career to date. It is this that we pride ourselves on and what we realise will be the difference between proving everyone wrong and keeping our place in this league, or suffering relegation. I’m a firm believer that talent is only a small part of success. I have seen a number of players, with so much natural talent go by the by and disappear, because they didn’t have what is key to success, and that is determination and hard work.
We understand that for us to have a chance in not only the whole season but in each individual game we need to work harder than the opposition. This is a trait instilled into us from above.
Lyn Jones is a coach that views things in a unique way. The aspects of rugby that are important to him are different to other coaches I have played under. He makes it clear that for us to be successful and to achieve what we strive for, it’s hard work that will get us there.
In a summer that has produced the most British success in sport that I can remember, it doesn’t seem like a more appropriate time that we mount our challenge to retain our place in the Aviva Premiership. An underdog is a strange place to be. It doesn’t have the added pressure and expectations of being favourites, and it allows you to focus on what you have to do.
The Olympics was the most unbelievable sporting event, providing the nation with added motivation to achieve things they never thought possible. Then there was Andy Murray, who up until now was “the Nearly Man