London Welsh are determined to go straight back up to the Premiership
Last Updated: 01/10/13 1:12pm
Return of the Welsh
You would think that their time in the big league would have put them off forever, but London Welsh are determined to get back into the Premiership as soon as possible.
After winning promotion for last season, London Welsh had a torrid time in the Premiership. First there was the legal battle to rightfully claim what was theirs after the RFU claimed that they failed to meet the Minimum Standards Criteria.
They then had some funding issues and finally they were deducted five points after Scott Gate, when team manager Mike Scott was handed a lifetime suspension from any involvement in rugby after he falsified registration papers for scrum-half Tyson Keats.
Back in the Championship, London Welsh feel they have unfinished business in the Premiership and feel that the lessons they have learnt will hold them in good stead for another shot at the top flight.
"I think 12 months ago we were delighted to get Premiership rugby but I don't know if the club was ready for it in terms of on and off the field," admitted assistant coach Gordon Ross.
"We may have rushed into it and made a few decisions that we were not too clear on. But we have had that experience now and will be better for that."
They may have lost numerous players, a chief executive and a coach but majority shareholder Kelvin Bryon is thankfully still at the club. The foray into the Premiership certainly took its toll on Bryon, who publicly declared he had had enough of the RFU and the PRL and was definitely pulling out of the club. Thankfully he recanted.
"I think the fact that we have an excellent squad in place, the fact that we are back at the Kassam Stadium, the fact that we are looking forward to the season ahead all that has contributed to Kelvin reviewing his position and relationship with the club and feeling that it is part of him and that he wants to carry on," said chairman Bleddyn Phillip.
"We are delighted to have him back on board."
The Welsh Exiles may have beaten Bedford 23-14 in their opening game of the Championship but it does not tell how much they dominated the game and former coach Lyn Jones was impressed.
"I think Saturday was the best game I have seen London Welsh play in two years," said Jones on the Rugby Club.
"They played really well and it could well have been a 50 point win over Bedford who are a very good Championship side.
"What I have seen is that they have the right ingredients to take on and dominate the Championship and go straight back up. But there is a lot more to it than that - there is the ability to go up and then the ability to stay up."
Jones also revealed the tough time London Welsh had in the Premiership as they were at a disadvantage from the very start.
"When London Welsh was in the Premiership they had half the income of the others for appearing in the Premiership. Even Bristol and Leeds in the Championship had 50% more money than London Welsh were getting and Newcastle had twice as much money last season.
"It was just too difficult for them on the back of getting promoted. We were asking for miracles - the impossible was okay, but we could not perform the miracles!"
Now based in Oxford at the Kassam Stadium, Jones says that it is crucial for the club to develop and academy; and for that to happen they need to generate more revenue.
"They have made a big commitment to take the club to Oxford and now it is for the people of Oxford and the businesses of Oxford to come and support London Welsh," he said.
"The one thing about English rugby is that it is a big man's game as far as money is concerned. You need the backing of multi-millionaires to do well in the Premiership. Then you have to have the 10,00 crowds coming to watch to help sustain and grow.
"The hardest thing I found when coaching London Welsh was that lack of an academy. When we had injuries we had to go outside and sign someone who was already retired to come in.
"As a coach you get excited when you bring someone in, give them an opportunity and watch them grow and get better and better. London Welsh did not have that and it has to be the challenge for them."
Catch Nottingham v London Welsh, 3pm, Sun, Sky Sports 3 HD