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Home > News > Welsh's Denbee delighted to break try duck
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Your News Welsh's Denbee delighted to break try duck
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Mike Denbee is the first to admit that his debut try for new club London Welsh was long overdue.

The flanker, who joined the Exiles in the summer from Birmingham & Solihull, crossed in either half against Aberavon last Saturday at Old Deer Park to help Welsh to a 27-19 victory in the British & Irish Cup.

Denbee needed just four minutes against the Welsh Premiership leaders to end his try drought, but having gone 11 games and three months without a try, he need only wait a further 54 minutes before crossing for his second.

“It was great to finally get on the scoresheet after two near misses in the Bristol and Nottingham games - it was nice to get over the line,” said Denbee.

Against Nottingham, Denbee took an inside ball off Greg Bateman and headed for the line, only to be held up. While early in the second half against Bristol in front of the Sky Sports cameras he burst clear and headed for the corner, only to be hauled down just short.

“At Bristol I knew someone was coming up close behind me and as they got closer I tried to get the hand off in, but I got scragged. I probably should have just kept my head down and gone for the corner,” he said.

“Against Nottingham their number seven scragged me as I went over the line and got his legs underneath the ball. Two close calls, so it was nice to finally get a couple and get my London Welsh tally going.”

His debut try came from a few metres out as he forced his way over, before taking an inside pass off Paul Mackey and racing clear for his second to swing the game in the home side’s favour.

“They’d gone down to 13 men and we were playing some good phases. We’d tired them for a 10-12 minute period and gaps started to open up,” said Denbee.

The win keeps Welsh top of Pool 4 and on course for a quarter-final place, with the Exiles rounding off their pool fixtures in Dublin against Leinster on December 18.

But Lyn Jones’ side were given a stern examination by the Wizards, in a game producing three yellow cards, before eventually securing the points when Denbee crossed for his second.

“It’s [British & Irish Cup] been a good run out for a lot of boys. It was a test to play against a dogged Averavon side at the weekend that caused us some problems at the breakdown,” said Denbee.

“They fired numbers in there, they had a big heavy pack, and there are teams in this league who are like that. It’s how we deal with that - it’s a learning curve.

“There were lots of good aspects to our game. We took a lot of their lineout ball and we dominated vast quantities of the scrum, and to come away after losing at half-time just shows the difference between a semi-pro side like Aberavon and a fully professional side like ourselves.

“But you’ve got to give credit to the Aberavon boys, they dug in and kept going, and we found it hard at times to break them down.”

Saturday’s win was also the second consecutive competitive game in which Welsh had kept their opponents scoreless in the second half, following a similar miserly performance at Doncaster Knights.

It’s part of the reason why Welsh can boast the second meanest defence in the Championship having conceded 195 points, with Rotherham having leaked just three points less.

“We had a goal at the beginning of the season to have the lowest points against in the league and I think that’s starting to show with people understanding and buying into the systems,” said Denbee.

“We’ve been looking over the last few weeks at our defence and how it causes teams problems and setting ourselves goals.

“People are accountable for the missed tackles and they’ve had to up their game. They’ve had to do the work to make sure they’re getting in the team.”

That defensive record will be tested severely on Saturday as Welsh host near neighbours London Scottish in the two sides’ keenly awaited derby, and Denbee knows all about local derbies from his season at the Bees, as well as from his days at local club Western-Super-Mare and their meetings with fierce rivals Western Hornets.

“Saturday is a local derby against a team who are getting stronger week by week. I know some of the Scottish players and the danger they can cause. They’re in this league for a reason, they’re a good quality side who want to progress and move forward,” said Denbee, who played with Scottish wing/full back Ollie Grove at Birmingham & Solihull, while second row Steve Pate is a fellow Somerset boy.

“It’s all about us concentrating on our game at the end of the day and if we do our basics right and control the set piece there’s no reason why we can’t come away with a win.

“Birmingham & Solihull and Moseley hate each other – it’s as simple as that. Being so close to each other – it’s only four or fives between the two clubs – the rivalry is massive. Being involved in games like that is a dog-fight.

“A lot of people have come in from outside the area but they’ve got to understand the meaning to the club of a local derby and you’ve got to play with your heart on your sleeve because at the end of the day it’s the team who wants in more that will come out on top.”

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