London Welsh RFC
|Full name||London Welsh Rugby Football Club|
|Ground(s)||Kassam Stadium (Capacity: 12,500)|
|League(s)||Greene King IPA Championship|
The 2010–11 season was the club's 125th anniversary and to kick off the celebrations they held a military tattoo on the evening of Wednesday 25 August at Old Deer Park with the Band and Corps of Drums of the Welsh Guards, plus the London Welsh Rugby Club Choir. All proceeds were donated to the Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal.
Over the years the club has contributed 177 players to the Wales national team and 43 players to the British and Irish Lions. Seven London Welsh players were selected for the 1971 tour to New Zealand (a Lions record which remains unbroken to this day): captain John Dawes (now London Welsh president), JPR Williams, Gerald Davies, Mervyn Davies, John Taylor (now Managing Director and ITV commentator), Mike Roberts and Geoff Evans.
Currently the 1st XV squad are fully professional, London Welsh are currently coached by former Cardiff Blues head coach, Justin Burnell and player coach Gordon Ross.
Despite the new professionalism, London Welsh has tried to retain the atmosphere of an amateur club. Although the 1XV squad are fully professional, the new London Welsh Amateurs, Wizards and Occies are still strong parts of the club. They also have a successful social section, who go a long way towards maintaining the 'amateur ethos' of enjoying a game and a pint on a Saturday.
London Welsh has one of the longest standing women's sides – LWWRFC, who celebrated twenty years of women's rugby at the club in the 2005/6 season. Whilst still being amateur, the women train hard and have enjoyed recent success with the club, both in XVs in the winter and 7s during the summer. There are London Welsh Women representatives at England Regional Level and on the Wales National Touch team. There is also a popular Mini & Junior Section.
In December 2006, London Welsh revealed their ambition to turn their back on the English league and become the 5th Welsh team in the Magners League. The club later appeared to go back on this report, claiming they had been misquoted and said this would only be considered if the Guinness Premiership decided to prohibit promotion/relegation, but confirmed their hopes of ground-sharing with Brentford FC either at their current stadium Griffin Park or a new 20,000 seat ground to be built at Lionel Road, near Kew Bridge.
In June 2009, the club went into administration shortly after turning professional. They were bought from the receivers in July 2009 by Saudex Global, owned by Neil Hollinshead, and allowed to continue in The Championship, albeit with a five point deduction. According to the BBC in March 2011, court documents show that Hollinshead is "alleged to have submitted forged documents and fake bank account details in order to continue his control of London Welsh and that he repeatedly lied to ensure that ownership of London Welsh was transferred over to him." The former shareholders of London Welsh RFC rescinded the 2009 agreement, by which they sold the shares of the club to Hollinshead, and had regained control by January 2010.
On 1 June 2012, it was revealed that Crystal Palace co-chairman Steve Parish had approached senior figures at the club about a possible ground-share at Selhurst Park, as the clubs plans to play their matches at Kassam Stadium were deemed unsuitable by the RFU, after securing promotion to the English Premiership. However a legal appeal by the club against the RFU's actions was upheld on 28 June 2012, after the appeal panel ruled that the criteria were in breach of EU and UK competition laws. Promotion was ultimately secured when it was announced that Newcastle Falcons, the club facing relegation from the Premiership, would not appeal against the ruling.
On 14 April 2013, London Welsh were relegated from the Aviva Premiership in their first season (pending the winners of the RFU Championship meeting the Premiership entry requirements) after a 14–31 defeat at home to Northampton Saints.
|Club||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Points For||Points Against||Points Difference||Try Bonus||Losing Bonus||Points|
|5||Bristol Rugby||10||6||0||4||274||231||43||7||3||33[n 1]|
|Green background are promotion play-off places. Pink background is the relegation place.
Updated 2 December 2013 — Current English Leagues source: RFU
Notable former players
British and Irish Lions
The following former players were selected for the British and Irish Lions touring squads whilst playing for London Welsh.
Wales International Captains
The following former players captained the Wales national rugby union team while playing for London Welsh RFC.
See also Wales rugby union captains
Other notable former players
London Welsh F.C.