Exiles 'at the crossroads' with Lyn Jones and stars free to leave


London Welsh lost more than their Premiership status when they failed to beat Northampton last weekend: they also lost Kelvin Bryon, their principal benefactor. The forfeits may not end there. The club chairman, Bleddyn Phillips, said he would not hold any front-line player to his contract if a top-flight club showed an interest in his services.

"Relegation has left us at a crossroads," Phillips admitted, "and while we want to move forward with confidence, everything depends on finance. A number of players were recruited last year on the basis that they would be playing Premiership rugby and it would be churlish of us to prevent them taking up opportunities elsewhere. We have had total commitment from the squad and when people give their all, their loyalty deserves to be recognised and reciprocated."

The chairman said he would take a similar approach on the coaching front. Lyn Jones has performed minor miracles on a weekly basis in turning an unfamiliar, hastily thrown-together squad into a competitive outfit capable of beating the likes of Exeter and Bath, and his name will be at the top of the recruitment list for any Premiership club considering a change of direction. Jones has a year left on his current deal but Phillips will not dig in his heels if a tempting offer is made to the former Wales flanker.

Bryon's decision to withdraw financial support after two decades of heavy personal investment has left the Exiles in serious difficulties, and Phillips openly acknowledged that there were no cash-rich saviours on the horizon. As things stand, he and his fellow board members do not even have a clear idea of where London Welsh will play their rugby next term.

"In a sense, the questions over finance and venue go together," said the chairman, who stated last weekend that the club would be forced to leave the Kassam Stadium in Oxford, their home this season, unless the owners agreed to a substantial cut in rent. "We feel we have had tremendous support from the people of Oxford and it may be that there are potential investors in the area who are interested in getting involved.

"It is also possible that we'll return to Old Deer Park [the club's traditional home in south-west London]. At present, all this is up for discussion."

Newcastle, hot favourites to replace London Welsh by winning this season's Championship title, continued to strengthen by luring the England Under-20 outside-half Rory Clegg back to Kingston Park. A product of the Newcastle academy, Clegg has been at Harlequins since 2009.

Meanwhile, Worcester have confirmed that Dean Ryan, the former England No 8 who has coached both Bristol and Gloucester, will take over as director of rugby early next month. Ryan succeeds the head coach Richard Hill, who parted company with the Midlanders last weekend.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam