London Welsh ready for Oxford move if they go up
London Welsh, the Championship team whose strong late-season form could cost Newcastle their seat at the top table of the English game, have been just a little coy about promotion plans for next season. Yesterday, they started to let on. The Exiles will play the home leg of their Championship final against Cornish Pirates at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford rather than at Old Deer Park in Richmond, which is not a stadium at all. If they win the title, they are likely to move there.
The Oxford venue may have been designed with football in mind, but rugby has been staged there – most notably in 2002, when Sale beat Pontypridd in the final of the European Challenge Cup, and in 2005, when the same Premiership side won the same prize by beating the Frenchmen of Pau.
"It offers high-quality playing and spectator facilities plus excellent floodlighting, which was a factor in the club's decision," said the Exiles' spokesman, Damian Dolan.
The first leg of the final will be in Penzance a week tomorrow, seven days before the return at the Kassam. Should the Pirates prevail on aggregate, Newcastle will remain in the top flight.
Plans for a professional-standard venue in Cornwall are beginning to take shape – the locals say there is a possibility of having something in place for the 2013-14 season – but as things stand the West Countrymen fail the criteria for promotion and cannot move up.
Four uncapped players were yesterday included in the Wales squad ahead of the match against the Barbarians in Cardiff and the three-Test series in Australia in June. The in-form Ospreys centre Ashley Beck will aim to take advantage of the latest injury problems suffered by the Lion Jamie Roberts. There are also places for the Scarlets full-back Liam Williams, the 19-year-old Cardiff Blues wing Harry Robinson and another Scarlet, the prop Rhodri Jones.
Next season's European finals will take place in Ireland, with the Amlin Challenge Cup decider going ahead at the Royal Dublin Showground as a support act for the Heineken Cup at the Aviva Stadium. The package should be worth in excess of €30m (£24m) to the local economy – not to be sniffed at in the current economic climate.
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food