London Welsh RFC

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This article is about the rugby club located in Richmond-upon-Thames. For the London Welsh Centre (Y Canolfan) at Gray's Inn Road, see London Welsh Centre.
London Welsh
London welsh badge.png
Full name London Welsh Rugby Football Club
Nickname(s) Exiles, Dragons
Founded 1885; 130 years ago (1885)
Location Richmond-upon-Thames, England
Ground(s) Old Deer Park (Capacity: 5,850 (1,000 seats))
Coach(es) Rowland Phillips
League(s) English Premiership
2014–15 12th (relegated to the RFU Championship)
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

London Welsh Rugby Football Club (Welsh: Clwb Rygbi Cymry Llundain) is a rugby union club formed in 1885. Based in Old Deer Park, Richmond-upon-Thames, London Welsh RFC played in the English Premiership in the 2014–15 season, after gaining promotion from the RFU Championship in the 2014 play-off final. After one season in the top division, during which they played their home matches at Kassam Stadium, Oxford, they were relegated to the RFU Championship.

Affiliated teams[edit]

Despite professionalism, London Welsh has tried to retain the atmosphere of an amateur club. The first XV squad are fully professional, and they are complemented with the 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. While 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.

Club history[edit]

London Welsh, established by and for London's Welsh community, has played senior-level rugby in England since its formation in 1885.[1] Its name in Welsh, is Clwb Rygbi Cymry Llundain.

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[2] and ITV commentator), Mike Roberts and Geoff Evans.

In December 2006, London Welsh revealed their ambition to leave the English league and become the fifth Welsh team in the Celtic 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 English 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.[3] 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.[4][5] 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."[5] 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.[5]

2010 – present[edit]

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.

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.[6] 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.[7]

In the 2013 season London Welsh caused controversy by fielding an ineligible player (Tyson Keats) in nine league matches during the season, eventually receiving a 5-point deduction and £10,000 fine.[8]

On 14 April 2013, London Welsh were relegated from the English 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.

On 4 June 2014, London Welsh won promotion to the English Premiership, defeating Bristol Rugby 27–8 at home and 21–20 away, 48–28 on aggregate.[9] However, the club endured a difficult season back in the English top-flight, and suffered defeat in all of their 22 league fixtures of the regular season, claiming only 1 bonus point throughout the entire campaign. The team therefore finished bottom and was relegated to the RFU Championship for the 2015-16 season. The team was also defeated in every single European Challenge Cup game, as well as every single Anglo-Welsh cup game. As a result, they became the first top-flight English side to suffer defeat in every single competitive match over a season, for over 10 years.

Club honours[edit]

Merit Table Rugby

Sunday Telegraph Pennants

  • English-Welsh Champions 1967–68, 1970–71

Runners-up 1965–66 Third 1971–72[12]

  • English Champions 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1970–71, 1977–78, 1978–79,

Runners-up 1965–66, 1971–72 Third 1972–73[13]

  • Welsh Champions 1970–71, 1971–72

Third 1965–66[14]

Western Mail

  • Welsh Championship Champions 1972–73

Runners-up 1967–68, 1971–72[15]

Daily Mail

  • Anglo-Welsh Third 1978–79[16]


  • Welsh Merit Table Champions 1971–72[17]


  • National Division 4 – 2nd Place, 1995–6 (Fourth tier of English rugby) [18]
  • Jewson National League 1 – 3rd Place, 1997–98 (Third tier of Enlgish rugby)[19]
  • Lowest league position 6th 1993–4 Courage League Division 5 South (5th tier)[20]
  • Highest league position 12th Aviva Premiership 2012–13 (1st tier) [21]

Current squad[edit]

2015–16 Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Allen, HarryHarry Allen Hooker England England
Britton, KoreeKoree Britton Hooker England England
Morris, NathanNathan Morris Hooker England England
Aholelei, EddieEddie Aholelei Prop Tonga Tonga
Cooper, BenBen Cooper Prop England England
Gilding, JackJack Gilding Prop England England
Marfo, DarrylDarryl Marfo Prop England England
Reeves, RickyRicky Reeves Prop England England
Trevett, NathanNathan Trevett Prop Wales Wales
Corker, MattMatt Corker Lock England England
Leo, DanielDaniel Leo Lock Samoa Samoa
McNally, JoshJosh McNally Lock England England
Snyman, BrendonBrendon Snyman Lock South Africa South Africa
West, BenBen West Lock England England
Hodson, RyanRyan Hodson Flanker Australia Australia
Jones, GusGus Jones Flanker England England
Skuse, WillWill Skuse Flanker England England
Thorpe, RichardRichard Thorpe Flanker Canada Canada
Waters, DarrenDarren Waters Flanker Wales Wales
Liston, JesseJesse Liston Number 8 England England
Pienaar, BenBen Pienaar Number 8 England England
Player Position Union
Davies, JoshJosh Davies Scrum-half Wales Wales
Glynn, RyanRyan Glynn Scrum-half England England
Lewis, RobRob Lewis Scrum-half Wales Wales
Barkley, OllyOlly Barkley Fly-half England England
Carlisle, JoeJoe Carlisle Fly-half England England
Robinson, WillWill Robinson Fly-half England England
Armitage, GuyGuy Armitage Centre England England
Lewis, JamesJames Lewis Centre Wales Wales
Palamo, ThrettonThretton Palamo Centre United States United States
Reynolds, NicNic Reynolds Centre Wales Wales
Drauniniu, JoshJosh Drauniniu Wing England England
Elder, ChrisChris Elder Wing England England
Thomas, MartynMartyn Thomas Wing Wales Wales
Awcock, AlanAlan Awcock Fullback England England
Jewell, SebSeb Jewell Fullback England England

Notable former players[edit]

British and Irish Lions[edit]

The following former players were selected for the British and Irish Lions touring squads while playing for London Welsh.


Wales International Captains[edit]

The following former players captained the Wales national rugby union team while playing for London Welsh.

See also Wales rugby union captains

Other notable former players[edit]

See also Category:London Welsh RFC players

London Welsh Football Club[edit]

The club set up an association football side in 1890 called London Welsh FC. They disbanded after a couple of seasons.

See also[edit]


  • Jones, Stephen; Paul Beken (1985). Dragon in Exile, The Centenary History of London Welsh R.F.C. London: Springwood Books. ISBN 0-86254-125-5. 


  1. ^ Jones (1985), pg 3.
  2. ^ "London Welsh – Club Contacts". 
  3. ^ Maidment, Neil (23 June 2009). "Rugby-London Welsh Rugby forced into administration". Reuters. Retrieved 23 June 2009. 
  4. ^ "Rescued Welsh handed five-point deduction for new campaign". 20 July 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c "London Welsh RFC 'fraud': RFU changes rules". BBC News (BBC). 29 March 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "London Welsh not eligible for Premiership promotion". BBC News (BBC). 23 June 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "Falcons concede defeat as London Welsh win battle for Premiership berth". Daily Mail (Daily Mail). 3 July 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Standard (Standard)  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Anglo-Welsh Cup
  12. ^ Dragon in Exile, The Centenary History of London Welsh R.F.C, Stephen Jones and Paul Beken, Springwood Books, London, 1985
  13. ^ Dragon in Exile, The Centenary History of London Welsh R.F.C, Stephen Jones and Paul Beken, Springwood Books, London, 1985
  14. ^ Dragon in Exile, The Centenary History of London Welsh R.F.C, Stephen Jones and Paul Beken, Springwood Books, London, 1985
  15. ^ Dragon in Exile, The Centenary History of London Welsh R.F.C, Stephen Jones and Paul Beken, Springwood Books, London, 1985
  16. ^ Dragon in Exile, The Centenary History of London Welsh R.F.C, Stephen Jones and Paul Beken, Springwood Books, London, 1985
  17. ^ Dragon in Exile, The Centenary History of London Welsh R.F.C, Stephen Jones and Paul Beken, Springwood Books, London, 1985
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^

External links[edit]