London Welsh’s Aviva Premiership clash with Wasps may not have had too many ramifications at the bottom of the table, but try telling Darren Waters there was nothing to play for.
After joining Welsh last summer from the Dragons, Waters featured in the club’s opening two pre-season friendlies only to suffer a cruciate ligament injury just two days before the Exiles were due to face his former club Pontypridd at Sardis Road.
With a run out in Welsh’s friendly win over the Dragons at Old Deer Park under his belt last month, Waters finally made his long awaited first Premiership appearance for the club against Wasps at the Kassam Stadium last Sunday.
“I just went out there, wore my heart on my sleeve and just gave it everything I had.” said Waters. “I just wanted to get out there and get on with it.
“It’s been a bit frustrating with injury over the last few years, but I feel I’ve got so much more to give to the game and it’s been frustrating not being able to do that.”
Waters got a valuable 60 minutes under his belt against Wasps, but couldn’t prevent the Exiles going down to a 40-13 defeat.
“I was a bit gutted by the result; I don’t think the score reflected how we played, and at one point I thought we could have gone on to win it,” said Waters, who featured for the Dragons in their LV= Cup win over Welsh at the Kassam Stadium in February 2013.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t the case but I definitely think we’re making inroads in terms of building a team for next year and going out this season with a never-say-die attitude.
“Marginal errors just cost us against Wasps but the boys didn’t give up in any way shape or form, it was just a case of one or two technical aspects of the game that we need to work on. I think we’re progressing in the right way.”
Despite the defeat, however, Waters believes the Exiles are building a team unity and spirit that will stand the club in good stead next season in the Championship, as it looks to make an immediate return to the top flight.
“It’s something we’ve been trying to build since Rowland’s [Phillips] come in as head coach. We need to stick together as a team and a lot of the boys have re-signed for next year. We need that togetherness in order to progress and get back into the Premiership,” Waters added.
The immediate challenge for both Waters and Welsh is to build on the performances against Wasps and Bath in their remaining three Premiership matches. No easy task, though, when the opponents are Leicester Tigers, Northampton Saints and Saracens.
“It doesn’t get any easier, but we’ll rise to the challenge and keep fighting to the end,” said Waters.
Tickets: London Welsh vs Saracens
Tickets for London Welsh’s Aviva Premiership fixture with Saracens on Saturday 16th May (kick-off 3:30pm) at the Kassam Stadium are available at: http://www.london-welsh.co.uk/index.php?mod=tickets
or by calling the London Welsh Ticket Office on 01865 717661.