HEAD coach Lyn Jones admitted London Welsh were below-par after seeing the Exiles held to a Boxing Day draw by local rivals Esher.
Welsh went into Monday’s game at Old Deer Park against an Esher side which had lost all 14 of their league matches so far this season, knowing that victory would send them second in the table.
But despite outscoring the visitors two tries to one Welsh were forced to settle for a 13-13 draw, and it might have been worse had Esher fly half Mark Atkinson landed an injury time penalty.
“It was below par,” said Jones. “There was lots of good and lots of improvement, but putting it all together it was disappointing.
“Local derbies are personal individual matches and you’ve got to win the individual battles, but within all that there’s a team performance.
“Individuals have a responsibility to fulfil their role within the team by looking after the ball and making their tackles. We let ourselves down.”
Welsh led thanks to Hudson Tonga’uiha’s fifth Championship try of the season after Esher were reduced to 13-men with number eight Michael Macfarlane and hooker Stuart Mackie both despatched to the sin bin.
But Mackie went from villain to hero when he crashed over early in the second half and Atkinson converted to give Esher the lead. But Welsh number twoVili Ma’asi replied in kind to level.
Gordon Ross and Atkinson traded penalties but the sides could not be separated and Welsh had to settle for two points, although that was still enough to move them up to third in the table.
“When you play at home against someone bottom of the league you do expect to win, but you’ve got to give credit to Esher,” added Jones.
“They played with some structure and a level of ambition which was rewarded at the end of the day for them. They didn’t look like a bottom of the league side, that’s for certain. They looked like a very good team.
“I know they’ve been supported recently by some players from Harlequins, and those boys have acted as a catalyst in bringing the best out of some of their players, and that’s what it takes sometimes.”