9:20am Saturday 19th January 2013
By Ed Mezzetti
LONDON Welsh head coach Lyn Jones says their home humiliation against Stade Francais can spur them on in Valenciennes tonight (8).
Welsh lost 68-19 when they hosted the French giants at the Kassam Stadium in their opening Pool 5 clash in October, conceding nine tries as Argentine star Felipe Contepomi pulled the strings.
That was a low point in a very promising debut season in the Aviva Premiership, but the Exiles have shown much better European form since.
Jones stopped short of talking about revenge, but stressed his side had to learn lessons from how Stade tore them apart.
“I think it gives us an incentive to play well,” said Jones.
“If you rest on your laurels for five minutes, they are good enough to score two tries out of nothing.
“We are a motivated bunch.
“We are motivated to improve and build on what we achieved last week against Prato, not so much the scoreline, but the way we played.
“We don’t have much to lose. We have only got lots to gain.
“We need to be positive. We have to be looking to do something different from last time.”
Stade need just a point to finish top of the pool, but Jones is not expecting a cagey display.
He said: “I am sure it is very important for them to get a home draw for the quarter-finals, so they will be looking for more than just a point.
“For us, it is important to produce another good performance.”
Utility back Alex Davies added: “Since we lost to Stade, we have come on leaps and bounds as a team.
“I’m pretty certain it won’t be the same score this time. Everybody is really looking forward to righting that wrong.
“If we play with the same ambition, I’m sure we’ll score more tries.”
Tonight’s match takes place at the home of Valenciennes Football Club – 200km from Stade’s Paris base.
“It is the same idea that Saracens have of taking their games around London, trying to increase their support base,” said Jones.
“London Welsh is a big name in rugby because of our history and people want to watch us.”
Jones said he was not too worried about the cold weather and expected Stade to do whatever they need to find a playable pitch.
“My job is to turn up on Saturday night,” he said “It is theirs to organise the match and make sure the pitch is suitable.”
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