London Welsh RFC

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
Full name London Welsh Rugby Football Club
Nickname(s) Exiles, Dragons
Founded 1885 (1885)
Location Richmond-upon-Thames, England
Ground(s) Old Deer Park (Capacity: 5,850 (1,000 seats))
Chairman Gareth Hawkins[1]
Coach(es) James Buckland[2]
Captain(s) Ben Pienaar
Most caps Matt Corker
Top scorer Olly Barkley
League(s) RFU Championship
2015–16 5th
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 2012–13 and 2014–15 seasons, after gaining promotion from the RFU Championship in the 2012 and 2014 play-off final. The club returned to Old Deer Park in 2015 after three seasons at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford.

Affiliated teams

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, which goes 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 2005–06 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.


Early years

London Welsh, established by and for London's Welsh community, has played senior-level rugby in England since its formation in 1885.[3] 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[4] 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.

2009–12: Championship era

In June 2009, the club went into administration shortly after turning professional.[5] 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.[6][7] 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."[7] 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.[7]

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.

2012–15: Premiership era and relocation to Oxford

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 in Oxford were deemed unsuitable by the RFU, after securing promotion to the English Premiership.[8] 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.[9] A move to the Kassam Stadium was then confirmed for the 2012–13 season

In 2013 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.[10]

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. Newcastle Falcons were eligible for promotion and therefore confirmed Welsh's relegation.

On 4 June 2014, London Welsh won promotion to the English Premiership again, defeating Bristol Rugby 27–8 at home and 21–20 away, 48–28 on aggregate.[11] 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.

2015–present: return to Richmond

The club left Oxford and returned to Old Deer Park at the end of the 2014–15 season. Following the return the club went on to win the British and Irish Cup lead by Head Coach Rowland Phillips beating Yorkshire Carnegie 10-33. Rowland Phillips then moved on to take up a coaching role with the WRU. He was succeeded by forwards coach James Buckland who took the role of Head Coach assisted by Sonny Parker and Richard Tonkin.[12]

Current standings

2016–17 RFU Championship Table
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Loss bonus Points
1 London Irish 11 11 0 0 399 158 241 9 0 53
2 Yorkshire Carnegie 11 10 0 1 333 259 74 7 0 47
3 Ealing Trailfinders 11 6 1 4 259 237 22 3 1 30
4 Nottingham Rugby 11 5 1 5 230 259 −29 3 3 28
5 London Welsh 11 5 0 6 244 226 18 4 3 27
5 Doncaster Knights 11 5 0 6 252 249 3 5 2 27
7 London Scottish 11 5 0 6 244 294 −50 3 3 26
8 Cornish Pirates 11 4 1 6 290 277 13 2 5 25
9 Jersey Reds 11 4 0 7 255 279 −24 4 5 25
10 Rotherham Titans 11 4 1 6 233 297 −64 2 2 22
11 Bedford Blues 11 3 0 8 242 256 −14 4 5 21
12 Richmond 11 2 0 9 165 355 −190 2 0 10
  • If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
  1. Number of matches won
  2. Difference between points for and against
  3. Total number of points for
  4. Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
  5. Number of matches won excluding the first match, then the second and so on until the tie is settled
Green background are promotion play-off places. Pink background is the relegation place.
Updated: 4 December 2016
Source: "Greene King IPA Championship". NCA Rugby. 


Merit Table Rugby

Sunday Telegraph Pennants

runner-up 1965–66 third 1971–72[14]

runner-up 1965–66, 1971–72 third 1972–73[14]

third 1965–66[14]

Western Mail

runner-up 1967–68, 1971–72[14]

Daily Mail



Current squad

2016-17 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
Koree Britton Hooker England England
Aaron Carpenter Hooker Canada Canada
Adam Kwasnicki Hooker England England
Nathan Morris Hooker England England
Lovejoy Chawatama Prop England England
Ben Cooper Prop England England
James Hallam Prop England England
Darryl Marfo Prop England England
Nathan Trevett Prop Wales Wales
Josh Thomas-Brown Lock Scotland Scotland
Josh McNally Lock England England
Ben West Lock England England
Alex Woolford Lock England England
Ryan Hodson Flanker Australia Australia
Jesse Liston Flanker England England
Barney Maddison Flanker England England
Will Skuse Flanker England England
Kieran Murphy Number 8 Wales Wales
Ben Pienaar Number 8 South Africa South Africa
Player Position Union
Ryan Glynn Scrum-half England England
Rob Lewis Scrum-half Wales Wales
Joe Carlisle Fly-half England England
Glyn Hughes Fly-half England England
Seb Jewell Centre Wales Wales
James Lewis Centre Wales Wales
Nic Reynolds Centre Wales Wales
Heath Stevens Centre England England
Chris Elder Wing England England
Josh Hodson Wing Wales Wales
Kristian Phillips Fullback Wales Wales
Martyn Thomas Fullback Wales Wales

Notable former players

British and Irish Lions

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


Wales International Captains

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

See also Category:London Welsh RFC players

London Welsh Football Club

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

See also



  2. Walrond, Nigel (24 July 2016). "Cornish Pirates". Independent (Plymouth). p. 39.
  3. Jones (1985), pg 3.
  4. "London Welsh – Club Contacts".
  5. Maidment, Neil (23 June 2009). "Rugby-London Welsh Rugby forced into administration". Reuters. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  6. "Rescued Welsh handed five-point deduction for new campaign". 20 July 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  7. 1 2 3 "London Welsh RFC 'fraud': RFU changes rules". BBC News. BBC. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  8. "London Welsh not eligible for Premiership promotion". BBC News. BBC. 23 June 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  9. "Falcons concede defeat as London Welsh win battle for Premiership berth". Daily Mail. Daily Mail. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  10. Standard. Standard Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. "London Welsh 14-31 Northampton". 14 April 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2016 via
  13. "Hampshire Rugby". Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  14. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Dragon in Exile, The Centenary History of London Welsh R.F.C, Stephen Jones and Paul Beken, Springwood Books, London, 1985
  16. "Reports Display Page". Retrieved 28 September 2016.

External links

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