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Home > News > Mackay pleased to be back in action with Welsh
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Your News Mackay pleased to be back in action with Welsh

Last Tuesday’s win over fierce rivals Esher wasn’t just notable for London Welsh extracting revenge for their derby defeat earlier in the season, it also marked the return to first team action of Paul Mackey – 18 weeks and three days after suffering a knee injury at Plymouth Albion.

The centre knows to the day exactly how long he was out for, and having been due to start against his former club Swansea, only for that fixture to fall foul of the weather, he was certainly keen to make his mark against Esher.

Mackey lasted the full 80 minutes, putting in some trademark crunching tackles, and despite by the end feeling the effects of his first game in nearly four months he’s delighted to be back in the thick of the action again.

“I didn’t expect to start the league game against Esher and I was chuffed to bits when I found out, and I just went out and did my best,” said Mackey, who was determined to take his opportunity and put all thoughts of his injury to one side.

“You’ve just got to give everything, you can’t hold back, especially in a big local derby against Esher.

“If you hold anything back coaches are going to notice, supporters are going to notice and you’re not going to play as well as you can.

“You’ve just got to give it 100 per cent and if you have to come off then you have to come off.”

Last Tuesday was the culmination of a long period of rehabilitation for Mackey, the worst part of which was being separated from the rest of the first team squad.

“It hasn’t been the best because you’re secluded from the rest of the team doing rehab on your own,” he said.

“So it’s just good to get back in the mix with everyone for team plays and training, and that’s where I hope to stay for a long time.”

For the Dragons, last Tuesday’s derby win was only their second outing since beating Plymouth Albion on November 28 at Old Deer Park, with the trip to Rotherham and the eagerly awaited visit of Swansea being claimed by the elements.

Welsh led 13-0 at the break, thanks to Paul Sampson’s try and eight points from the boot of Jamie Lennard. An intercept try from former Dragon Sam Ulph got Esher on the board, but although Sampson’s second try appeared to make the game safe, Chris York touched down to ensure a nervy finish.

“It’s never easy against Esher. It’s a local derby; they’re going to be up for it and we’re going to be up for it,” said Mackey.

“Conditions weren’t great but I don’t particularly think we played to the conditions as well as we could have.

“We gave the ball away too cheaply and silly errors allowed them to stay in the game for as long as they did. It could have gone either way towards the end.

“We’re happy that we won but there are a few things we need to iron out. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve played so we were going to be rusty but they’re things that we are definitely going to put right for the Doncaster game.”

The Exiles will be hoping to start the new year on a winning note when they travel to Castle Park on Sunday, a ground which has been favourable to Welsh in recent visits.

The Dragons won twice there last season, once in the play-offs, and also came away with the points when the sides met at Old Deer Park earlier this season.

The Exiles led 29-3 at half-time thanks to tries from Dominic Shabbo (2), Ben Stevenson and Marc Breeze, but were kept scoreless in the second half and had to withstand a gutsy fight back from the Knights before prevailing 29-24.

Mackey is expecting another typically tough game against Doncaster on Sunday, but while the Knights should be well rested having seen their last two games postponed, the Exiles face a five-day turnaround. Something Mackey, however, believes won’t be an issue.

“I’ll recover a lot quicker because it is my first game back - I’ve not been playing week in, week out,” he said.

“As for the other boys….we haven’t played for a while so I don’t think the boys are going to be that tired – they won’t be phased by it. It’s only five days, so it’ll be fine.”

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