Tom May says London Welsh’s successful league season counts for little as they look to move a step closer to the Premiership.
The Exiles visit Leeds Carnegie at Headingley for the semi-final first leg tomorrow, before the sides meet at the Kassam Stadium for the return game a week later.
The aggregate winners will go through to the two-legged final against either Bristol or Rotherham later this month.
Welsh won 19 of their 23 league games to finish runners-up in the table, but for May the season really starts now.
“The lads have done really well this season but to be honest that all means nothing now,” the skipper said.
“It’s a straight fight for promotion.
“It’s the exciting part of the season and there’s a lot riding on winning these games.
“It’s what all the hard work and effort has been about.”
Welsh came through the play-offs two years ago to secure their place among rugby’s elite during the 2012-13 campaign.
Following relegation, this campaign has been all about bouncing back at the first attempt.
May turned down the chance to stay at Northampton Saints to join Welsh last summer.
At 35, the centre is conscious he might not have many more chances to claim silverware, so is determined to make the most of the chance.
He said: “I’m very aware of having played the vast majority of my career already.
“I’m enjoying playing here and I’m desperate to try and win something.
“I had options to stay in the Premiership and compete for a position, but I wanted to make a difference to a club.
“That was the main aim of coming here to get in the top four and fight it out.
“We have an opportunity of doing that now.”