LONDON Welsh’s director of rugby Steve Lewis has made the club’s intentions very clear by stating the Exiles will look to challenge for an immediate return to the Aviva Premiership.

Despite having three games remaining in rugby’s top division, the Exiles’ relegation back to the Greene King IPA Championship has already been confirmed.

Welsh have lost all 19 league games this season, picking up just one bonus point.

Forwards Nathan Trevett, Koree Britton, Nathan Morris and Ben Cooper all signed new deals with the club yesterday and director of rugby Lewis made no bones about next year’s target.

“A competitive front row is essential,” he said.

“This announcement is hugely significant as we prepare to mount our challenge for an immediate return to the Premiership.

“We know from experience that the scrum is a fiercely contested aspect of the game in the Championship.

“There is a substantial amount of experience in these re-signings and also in the group already in contract.”

Head coach Rowland Phillips added: “The ambition is as great as ever. The future is bright.”

The quartet join backs Seb Jewell, Alan Awcock, Nic Reynolds, James Lewis and Will Robinson in committing their future to the club.

Forwards Richard Thorpe, Ben West, Ricky Reeves, Jack Gilding, Eddie Aholelei, Josh McNally and Jesse Liston are already under contract for next year.

However, lock Peter Browne and scrum half Paul Rowley will leave the club for Pro12 side Ulster.