London Welsh have come a long way since their opening pre-season friendly with Henley Hawks, says Seb Stegmann.
The winger crossed twice in Welsh’s 40-12 win over Pontypridd on Saturday to open his try scoring account for the season. Victory rounded off the Exiles’ three-match pre-season friendly programme, which saw them follow up a comfortable win over Henley with defeat at Wasps, although the Exiles led 17-10 after 50 minutes.
“The standard’s definitely gone up; we’ve seen it in training and in our games,” said Stegmann.
“When we call moves in phase play, boys are offering themselves. Everyone knows what their role is a lot more than that first game against Henley. It’s been building week by week and there’s a lot of confidence now both in the team and the structure.
“It’s about confidence; we’ve got to keep the momentum going. The boys are excited; it’s the Aviva Premiership. We strived so hard last season to get back there. We now just need to keep our heads and know our roles for Exeter.”
Stegmann’s two tries inside the opening 11 minutes at Sardis Road, where Welsh lost in last year’s British and Irish Cup, laid the foundations for the Exiles’ win.
Further tries from Nic Reynolds and Nathan Vella completed a comprehensive first half display by Welsh, who led 26-0 at the break.
“We knew we would come in to the game with the more dominant firepower. We made a strong start and took it to them - we wanted to show what we could do,” added Stegmann.
“Throughout the whole game we were trying to go through our structures, our discipline in defence, the breakdown - all the little systems that we’ve been working on in training.
“We’re a bit disappointed that we tailed off in the second half, but as a whole it was positive. There’s definitely still one or two things to tweak next week when we review it, but it’s looking good.
“The conditions were completely different in the British and Irish Cup game here last year. It was raining last year and a bit epic to come here and have a go.
“This time we started well and the conditions were a lot better, and that really good start was paramount to our overall performance.
“Everyone knew their role, people were talking and putting their hand up as to what lines they were going to run and clearing out the rucks. People were still doing their jobs second half, it was just Ponty taking it back to us. They’re not an easy team to play against. But at the same time there a bit of inaccuracy from us.”