With the Championship play-offs just around the corner, Gordon Ross made a timely return to action for London Welsh on Saturday to inspire the exiles to a comprehensive victory over Nottingham.
Making his first appearance since February 1, the veteran fly half and London Welsh assistant coach rolled back the years at Old Deer Park – the highlight being a delightful line break to set up James Tincknell for the second of the Exiles’ ten tries in a 64-12 win.
“I’ve had a few a few months off so I’m pretty fresh,” said Ross.
“It was good but you’ve got to credit the team and I’m thankful to Justin [Burnell] and Ollie [Smith] for picking me for once. I’ve picked myself for the last 12 weeks, but they’ve not picked me once.
“The boys had a lot of energy in the first 20 minutes. We’ve not started as well as we’d have liked to over the last few weeks and we spoke about that,” said Ross.
“The forwards dug in and got us on the front foot and they made it quite easy for us in the backs. Both centres, James and Hudson, carried well.
“There was some nice play but we’ve got to be realistic, Nottingham had a great win last weekend against Moseley and that was their cup final. They were a few guys down and I think they were a bit short of numbers.
“At the same time it was good to score 60 points and hopefully we can use the next two weeks to get a few boys back off the physio bench.”
For Ross, it was an important win after the exiles’ narrow defeat to Bristol at the Memorial Stadium the previous weekend.
“We struggled the first 60 minutes against Bristol with what possession we had, so it was nice today,” he added.
“We played some good rugby at times. We maybe forced the odd offload which gave Nottingham the chance to recover, but it was important to get the win and that should hopefully give us the confidence to go and play with the ball in hand.”
Welsh will now turn their attention to their two-legged semi-final showdown with Leeds Carngie on May 11 and May 18.
Welsh came out on top in their two previous meetings with Leeds this season, but Ross knows that will count for nothing against his former club.
“We’re under no illusion as to how tough it’s going to be against Leeds - they’re a very good side. They hammered Rotherham away and beat Cornish Pirates,” he added.
“They play some very good rugby, they’ve got some very individuals and collectively they work hard for each other.
It’s going to be a massive two games for us, but if we prepare well and do what we’re good at then hopefully we can go up to Leeds and come away with a good opportunity to reach the final in the second leg.”