RUGBY UNION: Burnell so excited by additions

London Welsh's head coach Justin Burnell is delighted with his new signings

London Welsh's head coach Justin Burnell is delighted with his new signings

First published in Rugby Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor. Call me on 01865 425451

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.

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