RUGBY UNION: Welsh had year to savour - Jones

London Welsh celebrate winning the Championship at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium

London Welsh celebrate winning the Championship at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium

First published in Sport The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Call me on 01865 425456

LONDON Welsh head coach Lyn Jones reflected on a historic year for the club, which has brought them to Oxford.

The Exiles began 2012 away to Rotherham in the Championship and ended it tenth in the Premiership, nine points above the relegation zone.

In between, Welsh won the Championship on a great night at the Kassam Stadium and secured top-flight victories over Exeter, Sale, Bath and London Irish.

“2012 has been a great year for London Welsh, make no bones about it,” said Jones.

“It has been an historic year for the club. It has been a super effort from everybody at the club.

“There are lots of good times ahead, which I am absolutely confident about.

“We just need to keep our heads down and keep working hard for 2013.

“Who knows where we will be at this time next year?”

Welsh ended 2011 with a defeat, but their momentum built from there.

The Exiles won the Championship after beating Cornish Pirates in the play-off final on May 30, but only secured promotion after an appeal.

Jones said: “Twelve months ago, we had actually lost to Moseley at Old Deer Park and everybody thought the world was going to end.

“But we hardly lost a game after that in the run-in to the Championship play-offs.

“It was a massive step-up to get promotion and everything that went on is well documented.

“We went up and surprised ourselves as well as everybody else.

“We are moving in the right direction.”

Meanwhile, Jones said he was emphatically behind the Exiles’ plans to find a training base in Oxford.

Jones said: “The future has to be in Oxford 100 per cent, full time, lock, stock and smoking barrels.

“There is a market up here in Oxford. People in Oxford want top-quality rugby and we need to deliver it.”

Welsh are also seeking investment from Oxfordshire businesses and rugby fans.

Chairman Bleddyn Phillips said: “We are keen to ensure that we have in place the necessary investors for the next phase as we seek to build on the momentum thus far generated during our first four months in the Premiership.

“We will do all we can as a club to ensure that we are successful in achieving this goal."

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