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Burnell demands improvement

London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell will not allow his players' heads to drop after they were demolished 52-0 by Exeter.

Seven tries were leaked at the Kassam Stadium as the Exiles' return to the Aviva Premiership ended in a dispiriting defeat that confirms their status as relegation favourites.

"The season is 10 months and we know what it's about," Burnell said.

"We could have stayed in the Championship and played in front of 800 people, or we could play in the Premiership and put our hands up.

"It's pretty straight forward - we can go home and hide away, or we puff our chests out and put a smile back on our faces.

"We play Bath next so it doesn't get any easier, but we just have to look forward to that.

"It's 52-0 and we have nothing on the scoresheet. Maybe people will look at that and take us for granted, which may not be a bad thing for us."

Thomas Waldrom ran in a pair of first-half tries and Dave Ewers, Sam Hill, Ian Whitten, Jack Arnott and Chrysander Botha also contributed to the rout as Exeter romped to their highest Premiership win.

The Chiefs were ruthless in sight of the whitewash but were helped by some feeble tackles from a Welsh side that contained nine debutants including half-backs Piri Weepu and Olly Barkley.

"We have to learn from this. There were opportunities but we squandered them, spilt the ball and Exeter capitalised on the turnovers," Burnell said.

"When you have possession you have to keep hold of the ball and hopefully come out of the green zone with a point.

"It's not a case of regrouping or those cliches, it's about learning from your mistakes and rectifying them.

"When people are making individual errors, that has absolutely nothing to do with the number of signings you've made.

"If you're a professional player, you have to make your tackles, make that final pass and hold on to the ball."

Exeter backs coach Ali Hepher was delighted by the performance of former England number eight Waldrom who joined from Leicester during the summer.

"Thomas gave us what we're after - he's a rugby player and he combined well with Dave Ewers in the back row," Hepher said.

"Tom has come in, he's been grounded and has worked hard in pre-season.

"We like rugby players here, we're not just one-directional. We have to consider all options in attack."

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