London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell is buzzing ahead of the new season – especially after his high-profile captures.
The Oxford-based Exiles this week signed Australian back row Lachlan McCaffrey and Argentina prop Pablo Henn.
But it was yesterday’s announcement that New Zealand scrum half Piri Weepu would join that really got the rugby world talking.
Burnell is understandably delighted, and expects three more new players before their season starts in September.
“I’m very excited, of course I am,” he said.
“It’s a real sign of intent because it shows we haven’t gone into the Aviva Premiership to just survive, but to compete.
“We’re nearly there regarding the squad – we’re about three signings away.”
Burnell revealed it was the pre-season trip to take part in the Singapore 10s that enabled Welsh to finalise the moves.
“It was an opportunity for us to see these top-class players in action first hand and, most importantly, speak to them in person,” he said.
“I think it showed that we are a good bunch of people who are very serious about what we want to achieve.”
And how difficult was it to persuade World Cup-winning scrum half Weepu to join?
“A few cheeky beers one night seemed to do the trick,” Burnell joked.
Latest Sport news
- Reaction as Oxford United's Checkatrade Trophy tie is postponed minutes before kick-off
- Oxford United v Bradford City off due to frozen pitch
- Toni Martinez excited by prospect of making Oxford United debut in FA Cup clash with Newcastle United
- Silence from Firoz Kassam as stadium talks continue
- Ryan Taylor: Wembley impossible to ignore for Oxford United in Checkatrade Trophy quarter-final
- DARTS: Oxfordshire close in on promotion race with big win over Gwent
- HOCKEY: Oxford Hawks are held to draw after Kyle Barnes's brace gives them flying start
- FOOTBALL: Ricky Johnson out as Banbury United take on play-off rivals Chesham United
- RUGBY UNION: Chinnor return to the top of National League 2 South as Basil Strang stars in Redingensians win
- RUGBY UNION: Banbury unbeaten run ends in Newbury defeat