RUGBY UNION: New Exiles signing L'Estrange eyes up World Cup chance

London Welsh’s new signing Toby L’Estrange in action for the USA

London Welsh’s new signing Toby L’Estrange in action for the USA

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

Toby L’Estrange has the Rugby World Cup in his sights as he looks to make a long-term impact with London Welsh.

The USA international fly half wants to play a big part for his country at next year’s global showpiece in England.

But the Exiles’ new signing, who should make his debut off the bench at Ealing today, says impressing for promotion-chasing Welsh will give him the best platform to do that.

“The World Cup is the goal for the next 18 months,” said 25-year-old L’Estrange who has 11 international caps.

“I spoke to the national team coaches and they were very supportive with the chance to come over here.

“Playing in England, where the World Cup will be, can only help me.

“For the moment I will focus on London Welsh and trying to do the best I can here.

“There are a lot of US internationals around in England.

“Guys like Samu Manoa at Northampton and Chris Wyles at Saracens are well known, but there are quite a few players in the Championship as well.

“It is good to have a few familiar faces around.

L’Estrange added: “The US have a great group of players at the moment. The talent is definitely increasing year by year.

“You can see that by the number of players that are over here.”

L’Estrange joined Welsh alongside South African hooker Matthew Dobson last month and is itching to get some game time.

“I am excited,” he said. “I have had about two weeks getting used to the players.

“It has been a good settling in period, but I am looking forward to getting some time on the pitch.”

He added: “I was playing for New York Athletic Club in the US and really enjoyed it there.

“It was definitely helpful for my international aspirations.

“But at the end of the day it was an amazing opportunity to come to London Welsh and play for such a well-renowned club.

“The opportunity to be part of pushing for promotion was really appealing for me.

“It is definitelty a bit of a step up for me.”

L’Estrange is now in competition with young gun Will Robinson and veteran former Scotland international Gordon Ross for the No 10 shirt “I don’t expect things to happen straight away, but I have just got to put my best foot forward in training,” he said.

“They are a really great group of guys and I am enjoying being in London.

“I try to play a running game, have confidence and back myself from different areas of the field.

“I know I have to work on my kicking and adapt to the different challenges of playing in England.”

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