LONDON Welsh must show why they had the league’s best defence when they host Leeds Carnegie at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium tomorrow.
That is the message from captain Tom May as they seek to overturn a 38-31 first leg deficit.
Welsh conceded 348 points in the regular Championship season – the fewest of any club, but were surprisingly loose in defence against Leeds.
“We made one or two defensive errors, which we shouldn’t have made,” said May.
“We have had a pretty good defence all season.
“I know Ollie Smith (defence coach) wasn’t very pleased with how we did in certain areas of the field.
“But there are always improvements to be made on each performance and that is what we have looked at this week.
“There are a couple of things which we have altered in attack and, if we sort the discipline out, we should be in with a good shout.”
The first leg at Headingley was not all bad, with Welsh outscoring Leeds by three tries to two.
Asked what he would say to his team for the second leg, May replied: “Cut back on the penalties, improve our discipline and serve up some of the play that we showed in Leeds.
“At times we played some good stuff, but we just let ourselves down individually and collectively.”
Welsh have been heavily marketing tomorrow’s match in the hope of securing a big attendance.
“It’s always good playing at home and the crowd have been very supportive of us,” said May.
“It’s all very much appreciated.
“To come here to Oxford and play on a pitch that is in such good shape in front of a nice crowd, these are exciting times.
“Semi-finals are exciting in themselves. If you are in or around the region, why not pop along to the game on Sunday lunchtime?
“We are trying to build something, both on and off the field, and hopefully we’ll continue to do that on Sunday.”
May added: ”A good display will hopefully lead us into a final.
“We are three games away from getting back into the Premiership.
“Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. We have a big game on Sunday and we are behind, so we understand that.
“We also understand what is at stake in what could be a hugely successful season.”