LONDON Welsh head coach Justin Burnell hopes to bring the best out of Ben Cooper (left) after making the tight-head prop his 25th summer signing..
Cooper, 25, had rejoined Cambridge from Bedford Blues for the 2014-15 season, only for Welsh to swoop and offer him the chance of Aviva Premiership rugby.
Burnell said: “Ben is 25 years of age, he’s a big man and this is a great opportunity for him. Hopefully, we can bring the best out of him.
“Ben played against us three times last year and showed huge potential.
“He started against us at Goldington Road – our first Championship loss of the season – and he certainly caught my eye that day. They disrupted us at the set-piece.
“When we then played them at the Kassam Stadium, he didn’t start, but when he came off the bench he tightened up their scrum. So there’s definitely something there to work with.
“Importantly, Ben is also English-qualified and at the moment the biggest problem – and not just for us – is finding English-qualified tight-head props.
“There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of them out there.”
Cooper joins up with former Bedford teammate Ricky Reeves at the Oxford-based Exiles, who open their pre-season campaign at Henley Hawks on Saturday.
Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
Latest Sport news
- VIDEO: Highlights from Oxford United's draw with Charlton Athletic
- Charlton boss Russell Slade unhappy with side over Oxford United equaliser
- MOTOR SPORT: Bradley Smith makes speedy recovery to line up in Japan
- Oxford United 1 (Maguire 67), Charlton Athletic 1 (Jackson pen 54)
- Oxford United v Charlton Athletic - UPDATES
- MICHAEL APPLETON COLUMN: Charlton will be a tough test but we’re ready to challenge
- Grateful Marvin Johnson aiming to repay Oxford United fans with goal against Charlton
- BILLIARDS: Bob Chivers break boosts Fieldside
- WOMEN'S FOOTBALL: Role model Demi Lambourne can inspire youthful Oxford United, says boss Les Taylor
- ICE HOCKEY: Buoyant Oxford City Stars bidding to build on first victory