RUGBY UNION: Ex-Hawk McNally out to make a mark with Welsh

Josh McNally, seen here in action for Henley Hawks last season, will come up against his former side tomorrow when London Welsh come to Dry Leas

Josh McNally, seen here in action for Henley Hawks last season, will come up against his former side tomorrow when London Welsh come to Dry Leas

First published in Sport

PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY

JOSH McNally says he has not just come to make up the numbers as he prepares for his first London Welsh match at former club Henley Hawks tomorrow (3).

The second row joined Welsh this summer after some eye-catching displays for Henley and the RAF, who have reduced his duties so he can play professional rugby.

McNally will be one of the lesser known names in an Exiles squad which includes Olly Barkley and Piri Weepu, but he is determined to take his chance, starting at Dry Leas tomorrow.

“I’ve come in with nothing really to prove,” said McNally, who was based at RAF Brize Norton.

“It gives me licence to just go out and do what I do best.

“There’s no pressure. Every training session I just put everything in to it and I’m doing alright so far.

“I definitely want game time. I’m not here to play A League games – I want game time in the Premiership and I’m going to work for that.

“I’m not here to make up the numbers in the squad.”

Welsh head coach Justin Burnell felt McNally stood out when they played a friendly at Henley this time last year – and that was one of the reasons the Oxford-based club signed him.

McNally said: “Going back to play against Henley is going to be a very different match to what it was a year ago.

“I’m looking forward to putting a London Welsh jersey on for the first time.

“Henley have signed three RAF guys for next season as well, so I’m getting a bit of banter from the Henley players and the RAF players, but it’s a really good fixture to have and I’m really looking forward to playing in it.”

Welsh have made 25 summer signings, but Henley, who are seeking to bounce back to National 1 under new head coach Pete Davies, have not been slack themselves.

Wasps academy players George Edgson (hooker), Tom West (prop), Harry Glover (centre/wing) and Piers O’Connor (centre) have all joined.

A new link-up with London Irish has seen young scrum half Connor Murphy and lock Theo Vukasinovic added.

Henley have signed an RAF trio in prop Tim Coughlan, wing Lloyd Owen and centre Tom Gardner.

Other recruits include Fred Pierrepont (Loughborough Students), Tom Hall (England Students and UWIC), Samir Kharbouch (Redingensians) and Jordan Brodley (Bristol University).

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