Sunday, 1 July 2012

London Welsh to join Aviva Premiership

London Welsh are celebrating a promotion to Aviva Premiership! Although the season has finished more than a month ago, it turned out only yesterday that Newcastle Falcons will be relegated and London Welsh will debut in the English top division. Initially, the RFU champions were declined the promotion as, according to the RFU, the club had not achieved the stadium criteria. It appeared that despite finishing at the bottom of the league Newcastle would stay in. However, after successful appeal, it occurred that Oxford United’s  Kassam Stadium has sufficient standard to host top rugby games. Soon, (on the 4th of July) we will find out who is going to be the first opponent for the new team.

And now, a few facts about London Welsh. The club was established in 1885 by and for London’s Welsh community. Although the first XV squad is now fully professional, the amateur teams playing in the lower divisions are still strong part of the club. Over the years, London Welsh have trained many wonderful rugby players and contributed more than 170 players to the Welsh national team and over 40 to the British Lions. Seven London Welsh players were selected to the 1971 British Lions tour - a record that remains unbroken to this day.

Despite the entire fuss with the promotion, I hope that including the club in the top division will be beneficial to London Welsh, Aviva Premiership and rugby fans. I look forward to watching the Sale Sharks – London Welsh game.