HEAD coach Paul Dunne reckons relegation from National Two South could be a blessing in disguise after admitting Bournemouth “can’t compete” with their more illustrious rivals.

Last Saturday’s 57-26 defeat at Southend brought to an end Lions’ thankless efforts to remain in rugby’s fourth tier as their relegation was confirmed.

But while Budge Pountney’s right-hand man praised the club’s plucky amateur players, he was honest enough to concede that Bournemouth just could not live with their semi-pro rivals.

Reacting to Lions’ slide through the trapdoor, Dunne said: “It’s quite clear we can’t compete at this level so we just need to see how we get on lower down, see if we can find our place if you like.

“We always fight hard but at Southend, we were outclassed in pretty much every department and sometimes you’ve just got to say we were beaten by the better side. They drove us off our own scrums, we didn’t win any of our own line-outs and we missed a lot of tackles.

“Our problem is that we might score four but we leak seven and that has been the case all season.”

Despite their downfall, Bournemouth will still have a bearing on the battle to avoid the drop with fifth-bottom Chinnor the visitors to Dorset tomorrow (2.30pm) with Dunne keen to cast his eye over some fresh faces.

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