LONDON Welsh head coach Rowland Phillips believes the large contingent from last season’s squad who have stayed on will help them quickly get up to speed in pre-season.

The Exiles, who have played home games at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium since 2012, returned to training in London this week to begin preparing for their Greene King IPA Championship challenge.

They have brought in 15 new signings this summer, but 22 players remain from last season, when the side lost all of their matches in the Aviva Premiership.

Phillips believes it is an advantage to have so many who know his methods.

He said: “It’s really good to be back, it doesn’t feel as though we’ve been away long.

“With a lot of players retained from last season, it’s a pretty tight group even from day one.

“Over the next few days I’m sure the new boys will settle in nicely and it’s all positive.

“We have to be mentally, physically and tactically prepared for what is going to be a really tough season.

“We’ve got to make sure that we’ve got the confidence and the belief that this is a winning team.”