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May: No time to feel sorry

Tom May has no doubt that London Welsh can be competitive in this season's Aviva Premiership as they prepare for another demanding domestic test.

Six days after being crushed 52-0 at home by Exeter, the Exiles head to Bath, where they will face opponents bubbling nicely following last weekend's away win against Sale.

And apart from the obvious playing challenge, it promises to be an an examination of mental strength for last season's Championship winners.

"If you feel sorry for yourself you really do get burnt. There is no time for that," May said.

"We know what is expected now and we know the level we need to be at. We know that if we're not at that level, we will get stung.

"I am very disappointed and it hurts - if it doesn't hurt then you are in the wrong sport. But I've still got 100 per cent belief in what we are doing. I know we can be competitive.

"There was no lack of effort (against Exeter), and that was plain for everyone to see.

"It's just about being more accurate, keeping the ball in the right areas. We coughed the ball up in their 22 a few times, and you get punished for that.

"We needed to capitalise on the good parts of our game. For 20 minutes of the first-half we were more than competitive and we should have taken our chances, but it's a 50-point drubbing.

"We will take it on the chin, use it, learn from it and get better individually and as a group."

Exiles head coach Justin Burnell admitted that honesty had been a key ingredient of preparations to face Bath this week.

"The performance (against Exeter) wasn't the London Welsh I know - it was unacceptable." Burnell said.

"Our environment is all about honesty, and there have been some honest conversations this week. Hopefully, on Saturday, we will see a far better performance. We don't want to feel like that again."

Exeter face a far sterner examination of their early-season form when Leicester arrive at Sandy Park on Saturday.

And Chiefs number eight Thomas Waldrom, who moved to Devon from the Tigers this summer, knows Exeter must match fire with fire.

"They pride themselves on winning away from home and trying to get as many points as possible, and we've got to take the same approach," former England number eight Waldrom said.

"It was interesting to see people saying (pre-season) that we were going to be off the pace and not in the (Premiership) top six.

"You want to prove people wrong, and we've taken one step forward, but we don't want to take two steps back and have everyone writing us off again."

Gloucester and Sale, who suffered contrasting defeats during the Premiership's opening weekend, meet at Kingsholm on Saturday when a number of intriguing individual battles include rival fly-halves James Hook and Danny Cipriani going head-to-head.

Gloucester are on the rebound from a 53-6 demolition at Northampton, with Sale having come unstuck at home against Bath, so both sides will be eager to break their points ducks this weekend.

"It has been really interesting working with Danny," Sale's Scotland international scrum-half Chris Cusiter said.

"I've learnt a lot from him. He is really passionate about his rugby and big on detail and running lines. I find that really, really refreshing.

"I've got my own ideas on things, so it is just trying to strike that balance and develop that partnership, which will take a wee while, but I think we are making good progress."

Gloucester's director of rugby David Humphreys has retained the team thumped by Northampton.

He said: "No-one involved in professional sport likes to lose by the margin that we lost.

"We will just keep working away. We have a very clear plan on what we want to do. We know how good our players are and we know how much experience and knowledge exists within the coaching team. Given time, there will be improvements."

Sunday's Premiership action, meanwhile, sees league champions Northampton tackling Wasps at Adams Park, while Newcastle have home advantage against London Irish.


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