London Welsh have pulled off a huge transfer coup with the signing of New Zealand World Cup-winning scrum half Piri Weepu.
The 30-year-old will leave Super 15 side the Blues to link up with the Oxford-based Exiles ahead of their Aviva Premiership campaign.
Weepu has been capped 71 times by the All Blacks, making his debut against Wales in 2004. His final cap came against France last year.
The No 9 is determined to play his part in helping Welsh establish themselves as a top-flight team in England.
“I’m hugely excited by the opportunity of joining London Welsh and at the challenge of playing in the Aviva Premiership – consistently one of the best leagues in world rugby,” he said.
“London Welsh is an iconic and globally recognised brand in the rugby world.
“I’m looking forward to helping the club re-establish itself in the top flight and in Oxford.”
Welsh head coach Justin Burnell was understandably delighted with the capture.
“It’s a massive statement of intent from the club in regard to its drive to be able to compete in the Aviva Premiership next season, and not just survive.”
Weepu will form an exciting half-back partnership with England international fly half Olly Barkley, who joined Welsh last month from Welsh club Scarlets.
Our top stories:
8:30am Tuesday 13th October 2015
THE county is being “left in the dark” over how to help with the Syrian refugee crisis.
3:50pm Tuesday 13th October 2015
A FREE bus service is being set up from Carterton to Bampton so residents can access the post office.
9:00am Tuesday 13th October 2015
TRIBUTES have poured in for a “beautiful, brave and determined” teenage cancer sufferer who passed away last week.
8:00am Tuesday 13th October 2015
SERIOUSLY injured patients in Oxfordshire will soon be able to be treated by air ambulance crews at night following the launch of the charity’s new £4.5m helicopter.
7:00am Tuesday 13th October 2015
A NEW scheme could land young people in the county a career with Oxford United Football Club.
6:30am Tuesday 13th October 2015
A CAMPAIGN to recruit social care workers is to be launched to combat soaring demand for home care.
6:00am Tuesday 13th October 2015
THE site of the former Friar pub in Marston could become student flats as a seven-year saga nears its end.
6:00am Monday 12th October 2015
THE NAME expected to be given to the main street in Oxford’s biggest housing estate for 100 years has led to concerns its neighbours will be left behind.
8:30am Monday 12th October 2015
A TEN-year high in cycling accidents has been blamed on the state of Oxfordshire’s roads, with fears growing that cash to repair them could be hit by fresh budget cuts.
10:45pm Sunday 11th October 2015
Two British troops from RAF Benson have been killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.
2:02pm Monday 12th October 2015
A mum has apologised to the family of the man she stabbed and killed.
12:34pm Monday 12th October 2015
A new specialist air ambulance will be unveiled in the county today as Thames Valley Air Ambulance launches night-flying operations.
9:20am Monday 12th October 2015
Firefighters tackled a blaze inovling a wood-burning boiler in Ducklington last night.
9:10am Monday 12th October 2015
Passengers are having to endure delays to train services across Oxfordshire this morning.