Rugby - Jones hoping Welsh can bounce back

Lyn Jones urged London Welsh to "hold its nerve" after they were consigned to finishing bottom of the Aviva Premiership and left facing relegation.

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Rugby - Jones hoping Welsh can bounce back
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Lyn Jones has accepted London Welsh seem set for a return to the Championship

But off-the-field issues are rife, with Welsh's majority shareholder Kelvin Bryon claiming that he is pulling out and speculation mounting that club chief executive Tony Copsey will also quit. There was no official confirmation, though, from the club of any departures following Sunday's 31-14 home defeat against Northampton.

Welsh's only hope of survival is if the Championship title winners - to be confirmed following play-offs late next month - do not meet Premiership entry criteria. However, Jones said: "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."

He went on: "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."

Saints rugby director Jim Mallinder, meanwhile, paid tribute to Welsh. He said: "Clearly, they've come in and been a credit to the Premiership. They've pushed a lot of teams close and got some scalps at home. I think they have come in and tried to play some rugby. They've been a good addition to the Premiership."

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