CHAIRMAN Denis Eveleigh insists Bournemouth will stick with director of rugby Budge Pountney – even if Lions fall through the National Two South trapdoor.

The Chapel Gate outfit suffered their 12th straight league defeat after losing 27-20 at home to Shelford last Saturday, a result which left Pountney’s charges 11 points from safety.

Crucially, the run of results has included setbacks against relegation rivals London Irish Wild Geese and Dings Crusaders, further compounding their perilous position.

However, in a candid exclusive with the Daily Echo, Eveleigh remained adamant that Pountney’s summer appointment had still been vindicated and he revealed the club’s reasons for replacing successful predecessor David Dunn with the former Scotland captain.

Discussing the close-season switch, Eveleigh said: “We were newly promoted last season and it immediately became a 15-side league with Rugby Lions dropping out and, sadly, Barking were in freefall.

“Two of the three relegation spots were givens and the third came down to a dogfight which we were involved in. After a couple of good victories we escaped the drop but the signs showed that to sustain ourselves at this level, we needed to do things differently.

“That was why the changes were made. Dave did a fantastic job here but was also looking to step back a little bit and the discussions were held with his blessing.

“We thought the time was right for a bit of a change. We wanted a fresh face with fresh ideas and Budge was in the market.”

On the current campaign, Eveleigh continued: “Where we are at the moment is unbelievably disappointing and very worrying. We just don’t seem to be able to turn it round.

“But despite our position, we are still playing some attractive rugby and I am certain what we are trying to do collectively, across the whole club, is the right thing.

“He (Pountney) has told us he would understand if his head was on the block but it is not. We are here for the long term, Budge is here for the long term and we are already doing some planning for next season.

“To blame Budge and his coaching team for our current predicament would be totally erroneous.

“The commitment from the coaching team and the players is excellent and, but for the odd try here or there, we could be mid-table.

“If we do have to take a step back we still believe the area is capable of supporting a club at this level and, if the worst happened, we would look to bounce back as quickly as possible.

“I still believe he (Pountney) will not only be good for Bournemouth but for rugby in this area.”

Lions will be looking to get their season back on track when they visit Redruth tomorrow (2.30pm).