1st XV Match Preview V London Welsh (Home) Sat 16/10/2010 



by Joe Heaton

MOSELEY v London Welsh - RFU Championship, at Billesley Common - Saturday, October 16th 2010, k. o. 3pm (but come for lunch!)

There are no easy games in the Championship and the much enhanced squad of London Welsh will present another formidable challenge for Moseley on Saturday in another welcome long running traditional fixture.

The Welsh, also known as the ‘Exiles’, will arrive with confidence and ambition, in third place in the Championship, having won five out of seven games so far. Last season London Welsh finished third in the Championship, compared with Moseley’s ninth place. Moseley lost both league matches that were played between the two clubs:
Oct 24th 09 Moseley 17 v London Welsh 21
Jan 16th 10 London Welsh 22 v Moseley 6
The two teams also played in the B&I Cup (Pool)
Nov 20th 09 Moseley 27 v London Welsh 38

So far this season the relative position of the two clubs in the Championship is:
                     P. W. D. L. BP Pts Pos
London Welsh 7  5  0  2   5 25   3rd
Moseley          7  1  2  5   1   9 11th

London Welsh RFC was founded in 1895 and has had a tempestuous history. The club attracted many memorable players from the Principality, including for instance J.P.R Williams, Gerald Davies, John Taylor (now the M.D of the club), Mervyn Davies, Vivian Jenkins and Carwyn James (Captain of the 1971Lions). The 1980’s, however, was a hard decade for the Welsh, as harsh economic conditions saw a freeze on the number of top class Welsh players coming to London at the time that league rugby was introduced. Disastrously, the club slipped as low as Fifth National Division (South).

With dogged determination the Exiles climbed back to the First Division of National League and, at the start of the 2008/09 season, took the momentous decision to turn fully professional after the involvement of new potential “investor” who in hindsight was more talk than substance. In June 2009 the club was placed in Administration but the previous Board members rallied round and arranged further financing to enable the Welsh to emerge from that legal protection the following month. As the same legal entity was continuing the club was entitled to continue in the Championship, although a five point deduction was applied for not advising the RFU beforehand about utilising this insolvency procedure.

In January of this year the club secured control back from Red Dragon Rugby and under the management of John Taylor the future looks a lot brighter at Old Deer Park. Former England hooker and national coach, Phil Greening has been promoted to Director of Rugby, and, having recruited well in the off-season, the current playing squad is unquestionably strong. The current players have looked to the club’s history to inspire their game plan, with the emphasis on quick running rugby offering plenty of opportunity to move the ball in open play. They will provide Moseley with a stern challenge and the spectators with a stimulating afternoon, and, whatever the outcome, it should be worth the trip to Billesley.

In one other aspect London Welsh is to be congratulated. From all reports the club is doing its best to retain the atmosphere of an amateur club with an unbeatable social tradition long to be cherished in this professional world. This sounds very similar to our own. Rugby should be the winner on Saturday then!



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