12:00pm Saturday 3rd August 2013
By Ed Mezzetti
London Welsh head coach Justin Burden is tipping new signings Ollie Stedman and Mitch Lees to have a big impact.
The Exiles unveiled back-row forwards Stedman and Lees as their latest summer acquisitions yesterday.
Stedman, 22, joins Oxford-based Welsh from Newcastle Falcons, while Australian Lees, 24, moves from Sydney club Eastwood Rugby.
An England international at under 16, 18 and 20 level, Stedman was previously involved with the footballing academies at Hartlepool and Newcastle United, as well as Durham County Cricket Club.
Burnell said: “After spells at Leeds and Newcastle this is a massive opportunity for Ollie, who impressed during a six-week trial period with the club.
“Having now worked with him first-hand I can really see what Dean Richards saw in him.
“He’s got an abundance of ability and since arriving at Welsh he’s really got his head down and worked extremely hard the last few weeks.”
Lees, who can play in the second and back rows, showed some impressive form for Eastwood, earning him a place in the ACT Brumbies A team. Burnell added: “Mitch is a bit of an unknown quantity.
“But we’ve had some really positive feedback and reports on him from our contacts in Australia on his abilities and qualities.
“Having now seen him in action on the training pitch with Welsh, I’m positive that he can make a big impact at the club next season.”
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