RUGBY UNION: Oxon delighted at London Welsh's triumph
An independent panel of three QCs yesterday upheld London Welsh’s appeal against the Rugby Football Union’s decision to prevent them gaining promotion to the top English league.
While the decision came as a surprise to many, one man who expected the Exiles to win their case was the Oxford Rugby chairman Ron Macdonald.
“I’m not surprised at all,” he said. “I always thought they had a strong case and am delighted they have won the day."”
Oxford Rugby are a body who are overseeing the planned merger between Oxford and Oxford Harlequins clubs.
“We have already built bridges with London Welsh, and have had friendly discussions with them,” revealed Macdonald.
“Obviously, the Welsh have been busy with other matters, but they know who we are.
“We hope in due course to form a close relationship.
“It’s fantastic for rugby in Oxford. Until now, Premiership rugby, had been 30 minles away, now it’s right here on our doorstep in Oxford.”
These views were echoed by Simon Vickers, president of Thame-based club Chinnor, who won have promotion to National League 2 South next season.
“This is great for rugby in Oxfordshire,” he said. “It’s bound to increase the interest of the sport and all clubs will surely benefit.
“We don’t see the Welsh coming as likely to affect attendances at our games.”
Colin Baldwin, who is Oxon’s representative on the RFU, said: “Speaking in behalf of the county, I’m very pleased the decision and it will do rugby here a world of good.
“I’m slightly surprised by the deicision, because of the RFU rulles, but It’s brilliant that London Welsh won their appeal.”
Paul Murphy, from Abingdon, who will become president of the RFU next season, declined to comment.