RUGBY UNION: Exiles bank on Barkley

Olly Barkley eyes up a penalty for England during the 2007 World Cup. The former Bath and Gloucester stand-off is the first of London Welsh’s new signings

Olly Barkley eyes up a penalty for England during the 2007 World Cup. The former Bath and Gloucester stand-off is the first of London Welsh’s new signings

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Call me on 01865 425456

FORMER England fly half Olly Barkley says he can’t wait to get stuck in after joining London Welsh.

The 32-year-old stand-off is the first of several signings the Exiles are set to unveil having secured promotion back to the Aviva Premiership last week.

Barkley, who joins Oxford-based Welsh after a four-month spell with the Scarlets, has won 23 caps for his country and was a World Cup runner-up in 2007.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to being part of what looks to be a great coaching team and a talented group of players.

“There looks to be a spirit amongst the group that I can’t wait to be involved with and I’m looking forward to the challenge of the Premiership with them all, and helping the club further establish itself at the Kassam Stadium and in Oxford.”

Barkley’s signing came as Welsh announced their Premiership home games would be at 2.30pm on Sundays unless otherwise dictated by television.

The fly half underlined his promise by making his England debut against USA in June 2001 aged 19 – before he had played a first-team game for Bath.

Barkley added on Twitter: “Can finally say I’ll be staying with my Welsh roots next year and signing for @LondonWelshRFC Can’t wait to get back to @premrugby and take on the challenge with what looks to be a team with talent and huge spirit. See you all soon!”

Greene King IPA Championship winners Welsh believe Barkley’s signing shows their intention to be “very competitive” in the top flight.

Head coach Justin Burnell said: “Olly has a wealth of experience, both at club and international level, and he’s exactly the type of player we’re looking for.

“He’s got a fantastic game understanding and his other biggest strong point is his accuracy with the ball.

“His goal kicking is phenomenal and we’ll need that in the Aviva Premiership.”

As well as scoring 1,588 points in 181 Premiership appearances, Barkley has racked up 737 points in 79 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup matches.

The Exiles will learn today who their opponents will be in next season’s European Challenge Cup, while their 2014-15 season ticket launch is on Thursday at 9am.

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Oxford Mail: A40 alert

4:03pm Friday 19th December 2014

A CAR fire and oil spillage closed the A40 westbound causing severe delays.

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Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

12:00pm Friday 19th December 2014

A PENSIONER was “severely” injured when he was attacked in his car by a motorcyclist in Cutteslowe, police said.

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Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

11:30am Friday 19th December 2014

A BODY was found after a fire at a caravan site motorhome.

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Oxford Mail:

6:00am Tuesday 9th December 2014

December is Advent Calendar time and we have a special new interactive graphic for you each and every day until Christmas Eve. I've chosen the best 24 pictures of 2014 and I'll be unveiling one a day - so what is behind's today's door?

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9:30am Friday 19th December 2014

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7:00am Friday 19th December 2014

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7:40am Thursday 18th December 2014

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12:30pm Thursday 18th December 2014

A collision involving a cyclist and a car has taken place in Blackbird Leys, closing a road.

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11:02am Thursday 18th December 2014

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10:04am Thursday 18th December 2014

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9:30am Thursday 18th December 2014

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9:10am Thursday 18th December 2014

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9:10am Thursday 18th December 2014

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9:10am Thursday 18th December 2014

A man arrested as part of Operation Bullfinch has been bailed.

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2:00pm Friday 19th December 2014

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Oxford Mail: London Welsh are staying at the Kassam

12:33pm Friday 19th December 2014

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12:00pm Friday 19th December 2014

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Oxford Mail:

9:40am Friday 19th December 2014

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Oxford Mail:

9:30am Friday 19th December 2014

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Oxford Mail:

9:34am Friday 19th December 2014

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9:10am Friday 19th December 2014

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Oxford Mail:

9:00am Friday 19th December 2014

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Oxford Mail:

8:00am Friday 19th December 2014

ABOUT 150 supporters have taken advantage of Oxford United’s offer of free transport to tomorrow’s game at Hartlepool United.

FOOTBALL: North Leigh boss Mark Gee is wary of Wantage threat

Oxford Mail: North Leigh boss Mark Gee is confident his side will be stronger next season

7:30am Friday 19th December 2014

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