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
- Ticket details for Oxford United's FA Cup tie at Merstham announced
- Ryan Ledson and Rob Hall to deliver twin boost for Oxford United tomorrow
- FOOTBALL: Sam Barder is Didcot’s match-winner while Banbury and Kidlington earn draws and Wantage are thrashed
- GOLF: Eddie Pepperell focused on ensuring losing European Tour card is just a minor setback
- FOOTBALL: Southern League previews for Didcot, Wantage, Kidlington and Banbury
- RUGBY UNION: Oxford Harlequins record first victory as last kick misses target
- RUGBY UNION: Chinnor bury battling opponents with six-try display to stay top of the table
- GOLF: Final pair seal Foursomes crown for Frilford Heath
- HOCKEY: Oxford Hawks' chances go west as Isca edge tight contest
- RUGBY UNION: Bicester scrape home to narrow derby win against Wallingford